Thursday, July 31, 2014

Holidays and Observances for July 31 2014

National Mutt Day


In 2005 National Mutt Day was created by Colleen Paige, Celebrity Pet Expert and Animal Welfare Expert.  The day which takes place on July 31 and December 2 each year is about celebrating mixed breed dogs - the mutt! Sadly, the largest number of dogs euthanized in animal shelters each year are unwanted, medium to large mixed breed dogs.

The aim of the day is to raise awareness of the plight of mixed breed dogs in shelters around the USA and to educate the public about the number of mixed breed dogs that are waiting to be given a loving and caring home.

Did you know that mixed breed dogs are usually healthier than their pedigree pals, they are generally better behaved and they live longer. And what's more they are every bit as capable as pure bred dogs and they are just as good at performing specialized duties, for example guiding the blind and bomb and drug sniffing.

It is so sad that millions of unwanted healthy mixed breed dogs are housed in shelters just waiting for that special new home so they can share their love with a kind family.

This December, on National Mutt Day, Colleen Paige would like you visit your local shelter and find a new four-legged friend.  You can apopt a mixed breed dog or alternatively, please donate at least $5, or whatever you can afford to your local animal shelter - as they need all the financial help they can get to ensure these dogs have a comfortable and happy life!

There are other ways you can get involved to help your local animal shelter, for example, you can become a volunteer and walk a dog, or get your friends and family to donate food and other doggie supplies and treats.  You could even hold an event to raise funds and donate them to your local animal shelter - every dollar helps!

So ... get your thinking caps on and do what you can to support National Mutt Day. 

National Chili Dog Day


It’s been less than a week since National Hot Dog Day, but it’s already time to celebrate National Chili Dog Day! National Chili Dog Day is always observed on the last Thursday of July, which is also National Hot Dog Month. Chili dogs are hot dogs that are usually topped with chili con carne (sans the beans), and other optional ingredients like cheese, onions, or mustard. 

When the National Sausage and Hot Dog Council ran a pole in 2005, they discovered that chili was the third most popular hot dog condiment, receiving 17% of the votes tallied. The chili dog’s popularity has spawned many variations, like the Coney Dog (actually from MIchigan) with added onions and mustard, and the Texas Hot Dog (actually from Pennsylvania!), which is topped with hot sauce. Chili dogs are particularly popular in the western U.S., with several restaurant chains featuring them on their menus. Arizona is home to the Sonoran dog, a chili dog that’s also topped with bacon and salsa.

National Cotton Candy Day


National Cotton Candy Day is an annual celebration that falls on two days during the year December 7th and July 31st. On this unofficial holiday, Americans celebrate by paying tribute to this delicious confection made of sugar. Cotton candy, also known has candyfloss and fairy floss, is spun sugar with added coloring. First the sugar is melted, then brought back to a thin solid state. It is commonly sold at fairs, carnivals, festivals and the circus. This confection is usually served on a cardboard stick or comes enclosed in a plastic bag. The fluffy, cloud like candy is most commonly found in pink and blue.

The history behind National Cotton Candy Day seems to be a mystery. However, it is not a mystery where this melt-in-your mouth candy come from. Although, it was made before in the 1700s, cotton candy was expensive and timely to make. Then in 1897, William Morrison and John C. Warton invented the machine spun variety. In 1899 this invention was patented. Fairy Floss made its claim to fame, when it was introduced at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. Guest paid a whopping 25 cents for a bag for this big hit. It wasn't until 1920 that this treat renamed cotton candy.

National Cotton Candy Day is simple to celebrate. On July 31st, you'll probably be able to enjoy cotton candy at a fair, amusement park, or at boardwalk concessions. However, there aren't many fairs and carnivals within the United States during the month of December. If there are any events going on, by all means, go out and have a bag. The circus would be an excellent place to start. It is pretty easy to find this confection already premade and packaged in candy shops and grocery stores for a more modest celebration. What a special treat it would be for children to see it actually being made. Cotton candy machines can be rented for this special occasion.

National Jump for Jelly Beans Day


Every year on the 31st day of July falls a little known food holiday known as National Jump for Jelly Beans Day. Not to be confused with National Jellybean Day, which falls on April 22nd each year, this holiday presumably requests that lovers of the tiny, sweet, gummy candies work for their treats with an enthusiastic leap.

July 31 is indeed a popular day for food holidays, as two others fall on this very date: National Cotton Candy Day and National Raspberry Cake Day. Those who love sweet fruity flavors can push the envelope by celebrating all 3 of these holidays, and make this a day of true indulgence.

It is difficult to find information on the Internet regarding the origins of National Jump for Jelly Beans Day, just as it is for many of the more obscure food holidays. This holiday may have been started by makers of jelly beans, or by fans of the candies.

The jelly bean itself is thought to date back to biblical times with Turkish delight, although modern jelly beans are quite different than this ancient ancestor. Jelly beans as we now know them stemmed from Jordan almonds, as they are made by the same process of shaking a filling in a container of a syrup to coat. This process, which was invented in France in the 1600's, used to be done by hand but machines now generally perform the job.

While major celebrations of this holiday may be hard to find, you may see regional festivities or special promotions by jelly bean manufacturers. This holiday lends itself well to throwing a children's party, where young ones can enjoy jumping up and down and eating plenty of jelly beans.

Bratwurst Day


The idea of Bratwurst Day goes back as far as six decades B.C., when the Romans held annual festivals where sausages spiced with various herbs were fried over open fires. 

Although different history books give it different paths, the wurst eventually found its way to the German city of Trier and shortly after, throughout the rest of Germany. Sometime in the mid-19th century, the little sausages immigrated to Sheboygan with the German settlers. 

To celebrate the city’s 100th anniversary, Bratwurst Day was born on Thursday, August 13, 1953. The idea, conceived by A. Matt Werner, editor of The Sheboygan Press, was a means of publicizing Sheboygan’s claim to fame: the bratwurst. The event was sponsored by the Sheboygan Jaycees with the support of then Mayor Edward C. Schmidt and Governor Walter Kohler. 

Schmidt’s proclamation, which designated the 13th as Bratwurst Day read, in part: Whereas, this community has achieved national fame and recognition for the exclusive manufacture of a special kind of roasting sausage, and Whereas, it is a known and established fact that the production and distribution of bratwurst has increased year by year to a point where it has become an industry of vital importance to this community - all citizens and visitors are to refrain from roasting bratwurst on their own grills and will attend and enjoy the “Bratwurst Festivities” to be held on the main street in the City of Sheboygan. 

Streets were renamed Bratwurst Boulevard (North Eighth Street) and Onion Oasis to provide the right atmosphere for the festivities. Nowhere else in the world would you find a scene like this at 8 a.m., when the Sheboygan Jaycees were greeted by a flood of customers as they began to sell brats at the corner of Bratwurst Boulevard and Wisconsin Avenue. By noon, fryers were in operation on every corner in the downtown area. As estimated 7,000 pounds of brats, 96 gallons of dill pickles, 288 bottles of ketchup, 288 jars of mustard and 350 pounds of onions were consumed. 

Activities of the first Bratwurst Days included the crowning of the bratwurst queen, brat eating contest, parade, square dancing, polka music and fireworks. A time capsule was also buried in Fountain Park. Various articles of Sheboygan historical interest were placed in the capsule, to be opened in 2053, 100 years from 1953. 

The turnout was beyond all expectations that the Jaycees decided to make Bratwurst Day an annual event. With Sheboygan billed as the “wurst” capital of the world, 1954’s celebration held Saturday, August, 7, included two 11-pound brats on display in Fountain Park. The two king-size brats, prepared by Wagner Sausage Co., were placed on huge rolls baked by Heitzmann Bakery. An estimated 7,500 pounds of brats were consumed.

The Sheboygan Press extended an invitation to Ann Landers to attend the Aug. 2, 1958 Bratwurst Day. She declined, but wrote, “Sorry I’m not there to enjoy the celebration. I am eating bratwurst tonight for sentimental reasons. Best Wishes. Ann Landers.” 

The Kiwanis Park Hill was the site for the soap box derby contest of the 1959’s Bratwurst Day. An estimated 5,000 spectators watch Danny Lee Brickrsquo's soap box win. At that celebration, 10,000 pounds of bratwurst were put away. 

For the 1961 B-Day (as they nicknamed it), hotels and motels in the area were booked in advance. At the time, one motel owner said he was booked solid two months in advance and turned away 1,000 reservations for the weekend. 

Sixty-six bratwurst stands were set up to sell the little porkers in 1962. The Jaycees put 2,000 man hours into the event. 

The event continued to grow in popularity each year. As it grew to a celebration attended by as many as 100,000 people, the festival also grew in the number of problems that resulted: vandalism and drunkenness caused by some of the younger and less civic-minded. 

These problems caused no small degree of concern among city leaders, for the day to show off Sheboygan had turned out to be a black eye, they said. The question of continuing Bratwurst Day, or modifying it, was put to the voters after the 13th annual celebration. In a referendum on April 5, 1966, voters in the city said no to the festival after 13 mostly glorifying years. 

Several years later, the Jaycees again thought that civic pride and better crowd control would again allow the city to celebrate its heritage. They proposed changing the name to German Days and moving the festival from downtown Sheboygan to Kiwanis park, a more confined area. In 1969, the Jaycees won the acceptance of city leaders to hold the festival after they promised that the bad memories of Bratwurst Day would not be revived. 

The “new celebration” grew, but at a much slower pace than did Bratwurst Day. German Day festivals were held from 1970 to 1974. 

In August 1975, the Jaycees sponsored an eight-day Sheboygan Days festival with a carnival. Sheboygan Days were held until 1978. 

In honor of the city’s 125th anniversary in 1978, Bratwurst Day made its comeback. An estimated crowd of 25,000 to 35,000 jammed Kiwanis Park for the return of Bratwurst Day that sunny August 7. The bratwurst eating contest had to be delayed an hour because there were no cooked brats available. Two tons of meat was consumed along with 197 half barrels of beer. Some of the many activities held included a pie-eating contest, a bubble gum blowing contest, Stumpf Fiddle competition, square dancing, air balloon rides, wet T-shirt contest and a water fight between four area fire departments. 

The Bratmeister, a 13-foot tall balloon resembling a Bavarian character made its debut in 1980 as the mascot of the Sheboygan Jaycees. 

By 1984, the number of celebrants had risen to about 40,000, who consumed 3,458 pounds of brats and 5,580 gallons of beer. 

In 1988, Brat Days started bringing national entertainment to the Sheboygan area. The 1st act that was the Turtles. In 1996, the festival started to have a national act on both Friday and Saturday, and in 2005, country national acts were added on Saturday afternoon. 

In 1991, the Jaycees broadened the taste experience with the addition of the Bratxotic Food Gallery Tent. Sheboygan restaurateurs were tasked with featuring bratwurst as the main ingredient in the dishes they sold. The Bratxotic tent continues today with offerings that include: brat pizza, brat taco, brat egg rolls and brat lasagna. 

In 2004, Johnsonville, the number one national brand of brats, secured the rights to the Sheboygan Jaycees Brat Days and Brat Days was renamed to the Sheboygan Jaycees present Johnsonville Brat Days. With Johnsonville’s support, the festival attracts bigger musical entertainment while continuing to combine the best of Midwestern family fun with the quirky, Wisconsin brat experience. 

As title sponsor, Johnsonville partnered with the International Federation of Competitive Easting (IFOCE) in 2005 to hold the Johnsonville Brat-Eating World Championship. 

History was made on August 6, 2005, when Sonya Thomas, the Black Widow, downed 35 of the famous brats in 10 minutes, obliterating the 2004 record of 19 brats. 

They say that competitive eating is the battleground against which God and Lucifer battle for men's souls, my friends, International Federation of Competitive Eating Chairman George Shea bellowed to the crowd before the 2006 Johnsonville Brat-Eating World Championship. 

The crowd, roared as the 16 eaters wriggled, convulsed and bounced to shovel down brat after brat. Takeru Kobayashi set yet another world record by downing 58 brats in 10 minutes, shattering Sonya’s record. 

Today, Brat Days still provides brat lovers from all over the country with a one-of-a-kind brat experience. Brat Days continues to be the largest fundraiser for the Sheboygan Jaycees. All proceeds are given back to the community primarily though donations. Past organizations that have received donations include the Field of Dreams, Above and Beyond Children’s Museum, Jaycee Quarryview Park, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Area High School Scholarship Program, the American Red Cross and the American Cancer Society.

Uncommon Instruments Awareness Day


Break out your euphoniums, dulcimers, mellophones and hurdy-gurdys because it's that time of the year again. It's Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day, you know, that holiday that's only a holiday because someone named "Monkeyboy290" created a website. (PS—you're gonna wanna turn down your volume before you click on that.) But now, thanks to the viral nature of the Internet we can all celebrate this little known non-holiday! Obviously, Step 1 is looking up what those instruments we mentioned above even are. Step 2 is to get out there and make some noise. Don't just tell people about your love of the xaphoon, go out there and play one!

University of Maryland has its own collection of rare and early instruments, including the very fun-to-say hurdy-gurdy, which, FYI, is a favored instrument of Arcade Fire. Open to both students and the public, this is your chance to party like its 1699. Visit the website here.

If you're looking to get into the hammered dulcimer, email DC native Jody Marshall. No prior experience is necessary, she'll teach you the ways of this bizarre stringed instrument for $60 an hour in her McLean studio. Go on, play that funky music...

Finally, if you're just looking to purchase or rent some wacky instruments for your inevitable Uncommon Instruments House Party, check out Takoma Park's House of Musical Traditions (7010 Westmoreland Ave., Takoma Park, Md.), where you can find a gazillion different kinds of flute-like instruments, as well as our personal favorite, the Bowed Psaltery. The less sure we are of how to pronounce it, the more we want to play it.

World Ranger Day


World Ranger Day is observed on the 31st of July each year. It is the day to commemorate the many Rangers killed or injured in the line of duty. It is also the day to celebrate Rangers and the work they do to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures. World Ranger Day is promoted by the 54 member associations of the International Ranger Federation (IRF), by our partner the Thin Green Line Foundation, and by individuals who support the work of Rangers and the IRF.
The first World Ranger Day was observed in 2007 on the 15th anniversary of the founding of the IRF. 

You can celebrate World Ranger Day in a number of ways:
  • Light a candle and observe a minute’s silence to think about those Rangers who have died in the line of duty
  • Plant a tree as a living tribute to Rangers around the world
  • Host a screening of the international Ranger documentary The Thin Green Line
  • Take the time to talk with park visitors and partners about the work of Rangers around the world
  • Host a special public event in or near your park dedicated to the work of Rangers in your particular area and highlight the role they share with Rangers around the world
  • Meet with your local communities, partners, and support groups to talk about the work of the IRF and how they can help support Rangers and protected areas
  • Visit a school – engage young people in the future of world parks, biodiversity, and conservation
  • Invite a Ranger from another park or country to join you and your co-workers for a week in your park, encompassing the 31st of July
  • Rangers may wish to meet with fellow park staff and/or your boss to discuss World Ranger Day and the role of Rangers, including the work of the IRF
  • Seek partners and donors interested in supporting and sustaining the work of your protected area and the IRF
  • Write an article for your local newspaper about Rangers and the significance of World Ranger Day
  • Present an award to a Ranger in your park or ranger association who has made a special contribution to the management of protected areas, their association or the IRF
  • Lobby your state or national government to establish a National Ranger Day
  • Have fun!  Celebrate your role in protecting the world’s natural and cultural treasures
Harry Potter's Birthday


Pour yourself a glass of butterbeer – it’s Harry Potter’s birthday.

July 31, a day which also happens to be “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling’s date of birth, marks the famous fictional wizard’s 34th birthday.

To celebrate, we’ve rounded up a list of local events and things to do in honor of the Boy Who Lived.

We solemnly swear we’re up to no good:

1. Catch up with the Potterverse

It’s been seven years since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows hit shelves, but two recent short stories released by Rowling on Pottermore give a hint as to what Harry and the gang have been up to since the series ended.

Harry, his famously unruly black hair starting to gray, is working as an Auror (the Ministry of Magic equivalent of the FBI):
“About to turn 34, there are a couple of threads of silver in the famous Auror’s black hair, but he continues to wear the distinctive round glasses that same might say are better suited to a style-deficient twelve-year-old. The famous lightning scar has company: Potter is sporting a nasty cut over his right cheekbone…Is the Chosen One embroiled in fresh mysteries that will one day explode upon us all, plunging us into a new age of terror and mayhem?”
Meanwhile Hermione now serves as Deputy Head of the Department of Law Enforcement after a “meteoric rise” through the Ministry ranks, and Ron co-manages joke shop Weasleys’ Wizard Wheazes with his brother George.

2. Attend a Harry Potter Birthday Bash

What better way to celebrate than a birthday party?

Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville is throwing a Harry Potter Birthday Bash, complete with Hogwarts-themed crafts, games and trivia. The festivities will start at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 31.

Afterwards, keep the party going with a cake inspired by the the one Hagrid brought Harry on his eleventh birthday.

3. Catch a Golden Snitch

…or at least the Muggle equivalent of one.

The Kane County Cougars will be giving out Golden Snitch baseballs before their August 1 game:

4. Test your HP knowledge

The Naperville Public Library is holding a July 31 screening of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as part of their Teen Movie Series.

The event, which starts at 2 p.m. at the Nichols Library branch, will include a trivia contest. Butterbeer will be served.

5. Play Quidditch

Fans have created a muggle-friendly version of the popular wizarding sport – no Nimbus 2000 required.

Check out our Quidditch Guide for opportunities to play in your area.

6. Make your own butterbeer

No need to visit the Three Broomsticks. Potterheads have created hundreds of DIY recipes for the magical beverage – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions.

We’ve pinned a few options on our Pinterest board, as well as some other magical recipes and craft ideas.

7. Take a trip down memory lane

We compiled a photo gallery of pictures of Harry and company throughout the years. Click through to see how much they’ve grown up.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Holidays and Observances for July 30 2014

Father-in-Law Day


July 30th honors all of those hard-working and fun-loving father-in-laws that we love so much.  This day is dedicated to your spouse’s father who rarely gets the recognition he deserves.  The day provides a wonderful opportunity to thank your father-in-law.  Most have never heard of this day, so take the opportunity to surprise him leaving no trace of your plans to acknowledge him this day.

A great way to celebrate the day with your father-in-law and make him feel special is to collaborate with other relatives in making it a grand celebration.  Communicate the plans with your mother-in-law and spouse to work together in making the day even more special.  Below are some gift ideas that will make July 30th the most memorable of the year for the special father-in-law.
  • Take him lunch - Your father-in-law is a hard worker and deserving of some special treatment as he goes out of his way to care for others.  Showing up at his work just before lunch time with a hand-prepared meal is a nice touch.  Cook his favorites and bring the food warm and fresh from the oven.  Another idea is to take him out to lunch.  He will feel much loved when the family shows up to acknowledge the day by taking him out his favorite restaurant for lunch.
  • Prepare a gift basket - A gift basket filled with his favorites is a nice way to show you care about the things he cares about.  If your father-in-law has a favorite cookie or candy, be sure to include those in the gift basket.  Aside from food items, you may include a cap with his favorite sports team, fishing or golf paraphernalia, fun t-shirts with sayings printed on the front, and special hand-made cards created by the grand-children and other family members.  A gift basket can hold anything that will fit and you believe your father-in-law will enjoy.
  • Bake a cake - No, it’s not his birthday but any celebration calls for cake.  Making the cake yourself, or having a special cake made on his behalf will make him feel special. It is important to select the flavor and design that you think he would love. Think about his hobbies and design a cake surrounding the theme.  If your father-in-law loves to fish, make sure to incorporate a fishing theme.  Party decorations can even be implemented from the cake theme tying everything together.
  • Throw a surprise party - While your father-in-law is at work all day, gather the team and start the planning. A surprise party on his behalf can be a fun way to celebrate the love you have for him.  Be sure to invite all of his close family members and friends, especially the grandkids.  Treat the celebration as you would a birthday party with balloons, cake and great food. Games can even be incorporated but be sure to include all of the things your father-in-law would love; after all the celebration is about him.
National Cheesecake Day


Today is National Cheesecake Day! Cheesecake is a rich, decadent dessert made with cream cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Add a crumbly graham cracker crust and a fruit topping for the ultimate cheesecake experience!

Cheesecake is a beloved dessert around the world. While many assume that it has its origins in New York, it actually dates back much further. Let's go back over 4,000 years to ancient Greece! Sit back, grab a creamy slice of cheesecake and learn all about this dessert’s rich history.

The first “cheese cake” may have been created on the Greek island of Samos. Physical anthropologists excavated cheese molds there which were dated circa 2,000 B.C. Cheese and cheese products had most likely been around for thousands of years before this, but earlier than this goes into prehistory (that period in human history before the invention of writing) so we will never really know. In Greece, cheesecake was considered to be a good source of energy, and there is evidence that it was served to athletes during the first Olympic games in 776 B.C. Greek brides and grooms were also known to use cheesecake as a wedding cake. The simple ingredients of flour, wheat, honey and cheese were formed into a cake and baked – a far cry from the more complicated recipes available today!

The writer Athenaeus is credited for writing the first Greek cheesecake recipe in 230 A.D. (By this time, the Greeks had been serving cheesecake for over 2,000 years but this is the oldest known surviving Greek recipe!) It was also pretty basic - pound the cheese until it is smooth and pasty - mix the pounded cheese in a brass pan with honey and spring wheat flour - heat the cheese cake “in one mass” - allow to cool then serve.

When the Romans conquered Greece, the cheesecake recipe was just one spoil of war. They modified it including crushed cheese and eggs. These ingredients were baked under a hot brick and it was served warm. Occasionally, the Romans would put the cheese filling in a pastry. The Romans called their cheese cake “libuma” and they served it on special occasions. Marcus Cato, a Roman politician in the first century B.C., is credited as recording the oldest known Roman cheesecake recipe.

As the Romans expanded their empire, they brought cheesecake recipes to the Europeans. Great Britain and Eastern Europe began experimenting with ways to put their own unique spin on cheesecake. In each country of Europe, the recipes started taking on different cultural shapes, using ingredients native to each region. In 1545, the first cookbook was printed. It described the cheesecake as a flour-based sweet food. Even Henry VIII’s chef did his part to shape the cheesecake recipe. Apparently, his chef cut up cheese into very small pieces and soaked those pieces in milk for three hours. Then, he strained the mixture and added eggs, butter and sugar.

It was not until the 18th century, however, that cheesecake would start to look like something we recognize in the United States today. Around this time, Europeans began to use beaten eggs instead of yeast to make their breads and cakes rise. Removing the overpowering yeast flavor made cheesecake taste more like a dessert treat. When Europeans immigrated to America, some brought their cheesecake recipes along.

Cream cheese was an American addition to the cake, and it has since become a staple ingredient in the United States. In 1872, a New York dairy farmer was attempting to replicate the French cheese Neufchatel. Instead, he accidentally discovered a process which resulted in the creation of cream cheese. Three years later, cream cheese was packaged in foil and distributed to local stores under the Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand. The Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand was purchased in 1903 by the Phoenix Cheese Company, and then it was purchased in 1928 by the Kraft Cheese Company. Kraft continues to make this very same delicious Philadelphia Cream Cheese that we are all familiar with today.
New York Style Cheesecake

Of course, no story of cheesecake is complete without delving into the origins of the New York style cheesecake. The Classic New York style cheesecake is served with just the cake – no fruit, chocolate or caramel is served on the top or on the side. This famously smooth-tasting cake gets its signature flavor from extra egg yolks in the cream cheese cake mix.

By the 1900s, New Yorkers were in love with this dessert. Virtually every restaurant had its own version of cheesecake on their menu. New Yorkers have vied for bragging rights for having the original recipe ever since. Even though he is best known for his signature sandwiches, Arnold Reuben (1883-1970) is generally credited for creating the New York Style cheesecake. Reuben was born in Germany and he came to America when he was young. The story goes that Reuben was invited to a dinner party where the hostess served a cheese pie. Allegedly, he was so intrigued by this dish that he experimented with the recipe until he came up with the beloved NY Style cheesecake.

New York is not the only place in America that puts its own spin on cheesecakes. In Chicago, sour cream is added to the recipe to keep it creamy. Meanwhile, Philadelphia cheesecake is known for being lighter and creamier than New York style cheesecake and it can be served with fruit or chocolate toppings. In St. Louis, they enjoy a gooey butter cake, which has an additional layer of cake topping on the cheesecake filling.

Each region of the world also has its own take on the best way to make the dessert. Italians use ricotta cheese, while the Greeks use mizithra or feta. Germans prefer cottage cheese, while the Japanese use a combination of cornstarch and egg whites. There are specialty cheesecakes that include blue cheese, seafood, spicy chilies and even tofu! In spite of all the variations, the popular dessert’s main ingredients – cheese, wheat and a sweetener –remain the same.

No matter how you slice it, cheesecake is truly a dessert that has stood the test of time. From its earliest recorded beginnings on Samos over 4,000 years ago to its current iconic status around the world this creamy cake remains a favorite for sweet tooths of all ages.

To celebrate National Cheesecake Day, grab a slice of your favorite cheesecake from your local bakery! Remember to keep an eye out for special cheesecake deals and giveaways in honor of the occasion.

Health Care Now!  Medicare's Birthday


On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signs Medicare, a health insurance program for elderly Americans, into law. At the bill-signing ceremony, which took place at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, former President Harry S. Truman was enrolled as Medicare's first beneficiary and received the first Medicare card. Johnson wanted to recognize Truman, who, in 1945, had become the first president to propose national health insurance, an initiative that was opposed at the time by Congress.

The Medicare program, providing hospital and medical insurance for Americans age 65 or older, was signed into law as an amendment to the Social Security Act of 1935. Some 19 million people enrolled in Medicare when it went into effect in 1966. In 1972, eligibility for the program was extended to Americans under 65 with certain disabilities and people of all ages with permanent kidney disease requiring dialysis or transplant. In December 2003, President George W. Bush signed into law the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), which added outpatient prescription drug benefits to Medicare.

Medicare is funded entirely by the federal government and paid for in part through payroll taxes. Medicare is currently a source of controversy due to the enormous strain it puts on the federal budget. Throughout its history, the program also has been plagued by fraud--committed by patients, doctors and hospitals--that has cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

Medicaid, a state and federally funded program that offers health coverage to certain low-income people, was also signed into law by President Johnson on July 30, 1965, as an amendment to the Social Security Act.

In 1977, the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) was created to administer Medicare and work with state governments to administer Medicaid. HCFA, which was later renamed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), is part of the Department of Health and Human Services and is headquartered in Baltimore.

International Day of Friendship


The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.

The resolution (A/RES/65/275) places particular emphasis on involving young people, as future leaders, in community activities that include different cultures and promote international understanding and respect for diversity.

The Day is also intended to support the goals and objectives of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace and the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010).

To mark the International Day of Friendship the UN encourages governments, international organizations and civil society groups to hold events, activities and initiatives that contribute to the efforts of the international community towards promoting a dialogue among civilizations, solidarity, mutual understanding and reconciliation.

The International Day of Friendship is an initiative that follows on the proposal made by UNESCO and taken up by the UN General Assembly in 1997 (A/RES/52/13), which defined the Culture of Peace as a set of values, attitudes and behaviours that reject violence and endeavour to prevent conflicts by addressing their root causes with a view to solving problems.

In its resolution of 1998, proclaiming the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001–2010) (A/RES/53/25), the General Assembly recognized that enormous harm and suffering are caused to children through different forms of violence. It emphasized that the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence should be instilled in children through education. If children learn to live together in peace and harmony that will contribute to the strengthening of international peace and cooperation.

The Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace (A/RES/53/243) adopted in 1999 set 8 areas of action for nations, organizations and individuals to undertake in order for a culture of peace to prevail:
  • foster a culture of peace through education;
  • promote sustainable economic and social development;
  • promote respect for all human rights;
  • ensure equality between women and men;
  • foster democratic participation;
  • advance understanding, tolerance and solidarity;
  • support participatory communication and the free flow of information and knowledge;
  • promote international peace and security.
The International Day of Friendship is also based on the recognition of the relevance and importance of friendship as a noble and valuable sentiment in the lives of human beings around the world.

Paperback Book Day


A paperback (also known as softback or softcover) is a type of book characterized by a thick paper or paperboard cover, and often held together with glue rather than stitches or staples. In contrast, hardcover or hardback books are bound with cardboard covered with cloth; although more expensive, hardbacks are more durable. Inexpensive books bound in paper have existed since at least the 19th century in such forms as pamphlets, yellowbacks, dime novels, and airport novels. Most modern paperbacks are either "mass-market paperbacks" or "trade paperbacks".

Paperback editions of books are issued when a publisher decides to release a book in a low-cost format. Cheap paper, glued bindings, and the lack of a hard cover contribute to the inherent low cost of paperbacks. Paperbacks can be the preferred medium when a book is not expected to be a major seller, or in other situations where the publisher wishes to release a book without putting forth a large investment. Examples include many novels, and newer editions or reprintings of older books.

Since hardcovers tend to have a larger profit margin, publishers must balance the profit to be made by selling fewer hardcovers against the potential profit to be made by selling many paperbacks with a smaller profit per unit. First editions of many modern books, especially genre fiction, are issued in paperback. Best-selling books, on the other hand, may maintain sales in hardcover for an extended period in order to reap the greater profits that the hardcovers provide.

The early 19th century saw numerous improvements in the printing, publishing and book-distribution processes, with the introduction of steam-powered printing presses, pulp mills, automatic type setting, and a network of railways. These innovations enabled the likes of Simms and McIntyre of Belfast, Routledge & Sons (founded in 1836) and Ward & Lock (founded in 1854) to mass-produce cheap uniform yellowback or paperback editions of existing works, and distribute and sell them across the UK and Ireland, principally via the ubiquitous W H Smith & Sons newsagent found at most urban British railway stations. These paper bound volumes were offered for sale at a fraction of the historic cost of a book, and were of a smaller format (110x175mm) aimed at the railway traveller. The Routledge's Railway Library series of paperbacks remained in print until 1898, and offered the traveling public 1,277 unique titles.

The German-language market also supported examples of cheap paper-bound books: Reclam published Shakespeare in this format from October 1857 and went on to pioneer the mass-market paper-bound Universal-Bibliothek series from 10 November 1867.

The German publisher Albatross Books revised the 20th-century mass-market paperback format in 1931, but the approach of World War II cut the experiment short. It proved an immediate financial success in the United Kingdom in 1935 when Penguin Books adopted many of Albatross' innovations, including a conspicuous logo and color-coded covers for different genres. British publisher Allen Lane launched the Penguin Books imprint in 1935 with ten reprint titles, which began the paperback revolution in the English-language book-market. Number one on Penguin's 1935 list was André Maurois' Ariel.

Lane intended to produce inexpensive books. He purchased paperback rights from publishers, ordered large print runs (like 20,000 copies—large for the time) to keep unit prices low, and looked to non-traditional book-selling retail locations. Booksellers were initially reluctant to buy his books, but when Woolworths placed a large order, the books sold extremely well. After that initial success, booksellers showed more willingness to stock paperbacks, and the word "Penguin" became closely associated with the word "paperback".

In 1939, Robert de Graaf issued a similar line in the United States, partnering with Simon & Schuster to create the Pocket Books label. The term "pocket book" became synonymous with paperback in English-speaking North America. In French, the term livre de poche was used and is still in use today. De Graaf, like Lane, negotiated paperback rights from other publishers, and produced many runs. His practices contrasted with those of Lane by his adoption of illustrated covers aimed at the North American market. In order to reach an even broader market than Lane, he used distribution networks of newspapers and magazines, which had a lengthy history of being aimed (in format and distribution) at mass audiences. This was the beginning of mass-market paperbacks.

Because of its number-one position in what became a very long list of pocket editions, James Hilton's Lost Horizon is often cited as the first American paperback book. However, the first mass-market, pocket-sized, paperback book printed in the US was an edition of Pearl Buck's The Good Earth, produced by Pocket Books as a proof-of-concept in late 1938, and sold in New York City. It has since become very collectible.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Holidays and Observances for July 29 2014

National Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day


This is without a doubt the most mysterious and weird national food holiday on the entire calendar! What the hell is “Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day”? There’s absolutely no consensus on the holiday’s origin or meaning that I can find on the Internet; all of us food holiday junkies are stumped. The speculation that runs around the Internet about Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day is that, originally, people would buy cheese on this day and “sacrifice” it to their household pest problems, using the cheese in mouse traps to snare the little buggers. In modern days, however, this practice has long since been pushed to the realms of classic cartoons and history books. We no longer need to sacrifice our cheese to our rodent miscreants!

So how do we celebrate Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day nowadays? (Well, technically, lots of people could still probably use to get rid of their rodent problems, but I hope we’re using other methods than cheese these days.) Lots of people have creative, new suggestions for observing this food holiday: you can “sacrifice” a little of your budget and buy an expensive cheese you love, but don’t normally indulge in because of its price. Or try a new and interesting cheese you've been hesitant to taste. 

Virtually every mammal on Earth produces milk to feed their offspring; and, milk, when cultured, processed, and aged, can become cheese. I’m not saying go out there and try like, cat’s cheese or anything. (God, do they even make cat’s cheese?! Don’t answer that, I don’t want to know!) But there are domestic animals other than cows that we use for their milk, and thus, sometimes make cheese out of it. The most popular non-cow cheeses come from goats and sheep. I’ve very rarely tried goat’s milk cheese, and I don’t think I ever tried sheep’s cheese, so here are some restaurants today that feature these rare cheeses for both you and me to enjoy!

Goat’s cheese has become more popular in the culinary world recently, especially in New York, where locavore trends have veered towards the small goat farms in surrounding regions (as apart from the larger dairy cow farms, which, while local, can be anathema to locavore beliefs). It tends to have the consistency of firm cream cheese, but with a tangier, almost sour taste, due to the milk having more fatty acids in it than cow’s milk. To counter that sour taste, many culinary cultures around the world–who favor goat’s milk to cow’s milk for the goat’s value as a herding animal–use honey as a sweetener, either in the blend of the cheese itself or as an added ingredient to a dish. Try honeyed goat’s cheese at Alta, a Mediterranean restaurant in Greenwich Village that makes lots of mountain-animal-inspired dishes, like lamb meatballs and mushroom risotto. They have their goat’s cheese as an appetizer, mounded into balls and then deep fried (can’t go wrong!), and served with lavender-infused honey. Deep-frying leaves a crispy crust on the cheese, which stays gooey and soft, not melty, when warmed; the honey adds sweetness to the dish, and the lavender leaves a sweet floral note. It’s definitely a different cheese experience from any cow’s milk you've had, so if you’re looking to pop your goat’s cheese cherry, this is the app to do it with!

National Chicken Wing Day


July 29 is National Chicken Wing Day. Over a billion chicken wings are consumed each year. And in 1977 they received their own day in Buffalo, New York when then Buffalo Mayor Stan Makowski proclaimed July 29 as National Chicken Wing Day. Thousands of pounds of chicken wings are consumed each week in Buffalo and around the world. That's why they are called Buffalo wings.

A chicken wing can be cooked whole or cut into sections. The big part of a chicken wing when cut is called a drumette. When chicken wings are cooked without breading and then covered in a vinegar-based cayenne pepper sauce, they are called hot wings.

The classic Buffalo-style chicken wing sauce is composed of a vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and butter. Buffalo wings are traditionally served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing.

There are several different claims about how Buffalo wings were created.

One of the more prevalent claims is that Buffalo wings were first prepared at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, by Teressa Bellissimo. who owned the bar along with her husband Frank. Several versions of the story have been circulated by the Bellissimo family and others:
  • Upon the unannounced, late-night arrival of their son, Dominic, with several of his friends from college, Teressa needed a fast and easy snack to present to her hungry guests. It was then that she came up with the idea of deep frying chicken wings (normally thrown away or reserved for stock) and tossing them in cayenne hot sauce.
  • Dominic Bellissimo (Frank and Teressa's son) told The New Yorker reporter Calvin Trillin in 1980: "It was Friday night in the bar and since people were buying a lot of drinks he wanted to do something nice for them at midnight when the mostly Catholic patrons would be able to eat meat again." He stated that it was his mother, Teressa, who came up with the idea of chicken wings.
  • There was mis-delivery of wings instead of backs and necks for making the bar's spaghetti sauce. Faced with this unexpected resource, Frank Bellissimo says that he asked Teressa to do something with them.
However, a long article about the Anchor Bar in a local newspaper in 1969 does not mention Buffalo wings.

Another claim is that a man named John Young served chicken wings in a special "mambo sauce" at his Buffalo restaurant in the mid-1960s. His wings were breaded. Young had registered the name of his restaurant, John Young's Wings 'n Things, at the county courthouse before leaving Buffalo in 1970.

Marketing materials for Frank's RedHot claim that it was the hot sauce used in the Bellissimos' original recipe.

National Lasagna Day


Celebrated annually on July 29, National Lasagna Day celebrates the Italian food lasagna. Select restaurants, such as Buca di Beppo and Spaghetti Warehouse, have historically given away free lasagna in honor of the holiday. Other Italian style restaurants may feature specials of the day with discounts on the dish.

Lasagna is a main dish that traditionally features layers of sheet pasta, tomato sauce and cheese. Lasagna may use a meat sauce containing beef, pork, or sausage or may be served as a vegetarian dish. To celebrate at home, check out Mahalo's guide to How to Make Lasagna.

The word lasagna takes its name from a Greek name of a cooking pot, lasanon. The cooking pot name transitioned to lasagne, the Italian plural of lasagna when the pot was used to cook flat sheets of pasta. Lasagna eventually became the common name of the noodle itself.

Origins of the Italian dish go back to the 8th century when the Arabs invaded the area and introduced Sicily to dried noodles. By the 1300s dried pasta was popular because of it's long shelf live but it was not until the 19th century when the combination of pasta and tomatoes are first documented.

In honor of the day celebrating the Italian dish, consider making lasagna at home using fresh ingredients. If time doesn't allow making the sauce from scratch, try a jarred sauce with seasonings already added to obtain a taste close to a homemade simmered sauce. For other celebration activities, choose a local Italian restaurant and join in the festivities planned in honor of the food holiday.

Rain Day


Rain Day got its beginning in the Daly & Spraggs Drug Store, located in the center of Waynesburg. Legend has it that one day a farmer was in the drugstore and mentioned to Byron Daly that it would rain the next day, July 29. Mr. Daly asked him how he knew and he replied that it was his birthday and that it always rained on his birthday. He had a journal for several years in which he recorded the weather and always had noted rain on July 29th. Mr. Daly thought this was too sure a thing to let pass, so he started betting salesmen who came into his drugstore that it would rain in Waynesburg on July 29. The bet was usually a new hat, which of course he would win.

In later years, Byron Daly's son, John, continued the tradition of wagering a hat on Rain Day. John was an attorney in Waynesburg, a very gentlemanly individual, who always tipped his hat to the ladies he passed on the street, and spoke with a kind soft voice. Although he had fun with Rain Day, he also took it very seriously. He liked the idea of keeping it as a local phenomenon.

John Daly was the Rain Day Prophet, who kept the tradition alive that was started by his father Byron, when he bet a hat that it would rain on Rain Day. In keeping up the night vigil (usually in a yellow slicker, hat & umbrella) sitting on the courthouse wall waiting for the first drop of rain to fall. He was almost always rewarded for his efforts and would give a gentle smile, put up his umbrella and head for home after the first drips fell.

John Daly had won hats from such notables as Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Johnny Carson, Cassius Clay and Arnold Palmer just to name a few. He also would bet local TV personalities from the Pittsburgh Area. In 1967, he bet Del Miller, who owned the Meadows Race Track in Washington, PA. That year, not only did Mr. Miller give John Daly a hat, he gave him a complete set of racing silks.

John Daly kept a box under his bed of the hats he had collected over the years. Many years ago, a non-profit talked Mr. Daly into donating his hat collection for a fund- raising auction. The hats were sold to the highest bidders! Special Events Commission has tried several times to determine the purchasers of the memorabilia unfortunately, to no avail, and none of the hats have never been recovered.

In more recent years, the Special Events Commission has won hats from people like Jay Leno, Fran Drescher, Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Troy Aikman, Mr. Rogers and Mr. McFeely, The Dixie Chicks and Chubby Checker. Harry Anderson, star of TV's Night Court, was the unsuspecting bettor in 1988; that year it didn't rain, so the commission sent Harry a hat. The hat appeared on the bookshelves behind his desk on the set for several episodes next to his armadillo.

What Makes our Annual Rain Day Festival?
It's the Special Events Commission, which was formed in 1979 as an offshoot of Waynesburg Borough. The Commission is composed of nine members.

In the early days the celebration was varied; one year the main street might be closed with a carnival setup through the center of town, complete with a ferris wheel, carousel, games and food. The next year there might not be more than a mention of Rain Day in the local newspapers. The Special Events Commission was to bring continuity to the event and has brought both national and international fame to Waynesburg. In 1979, an annual street festival that continues to this day was born.

In 1983, Willard Scott the weatherman on NBC's Today Show was the bettor who gave Rain Day the most notoriety. Willard, being a weatherman, the phenomenon of Rain Day was of special interest to him. Mr. Scott not only mentioned Waynesburg on Rain Day, but talked about it the day before and the day after. Although it didn't rain for Willard's year, he sent us a beautiful Stetson cowboy hat.

In 1992, the commission bet the town of Niceville, Florida. A resident there was a former Waynesburgian, who thought that Niceville and Waynesburg were perfect opposites. Of course, Waynesburg won a hat from the Florida town.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Holidays and Observances for July 28 2014

Buffalo Soldiers Day


In 1992 the U.S. Congress passed a law designating July 28 as Buffalo Soldiers Day in the United States. This day commemorates the formation on that date in 1866 of the first regular Army regiments comprising African-American soldiers.

African-American soldiers fought for the Union during the Civil War. But it was not until after the war that permanent all-black regiments were established, maintaining the U.S. armed forces policy of segregation. The African-American regiments were deployed in the southwest and in the plains states to serve U.S. interests against Native American tribes, to protect important shipments, and to construct roads and trails. A longstanding debate ranges around the origin of the term "Buffalo Soldier," with some maintaining that the nickname reflected the toughness of the soldiers and others claiming that it was a disparaging racial term used by Native Americans to describe the dark-skinned soldiers they met in battle. The segregated regiments served in the Spanish-American War, World War II, and other conflicts, before being disbanded during the 1940s and 1950s as the U.S. armed forces embraced integration.

Since 1992, Buffalo Soldier Commemorations have been held throughout the country and typically include reenactments, museum displays, educational forums, prayer services, and dedication or groundbreaking ceremonies for sculptural or other permanent memorials. A monument to the Buffalo Soldiers was dedicated at Fort Leavenworth, Kans., on the first Buffalo Soldiers Day in 1992 by General Colin Powell, who had originated the idea of a memorial to the black soldiers when he was stationed at the fort. Ceremonies and reenactments honoring the Buffalo Soldiers are not limited to July 28, however. Communities throughout the United States present special programs designed to educate audiences about the history of the Buffalo Soldiers throughout the year, particularly during Black History Month in February and on such patriotic holidays as Memorial Day and Veterans Day, with displays of memorabilia and speeches recounting the accomplishments of the troops.

National Milk Chocolate Day


July 28 is National Milk Chocolate Day, meaning you have the perfect excuse to indulge that chocolate hankering over the weekend. Not that most Americans even need a reason — according to a recent study nearly half of Americans nibble on a chocolate treat every day.

Daniel Peter was born in the village of Moudon, located in the Canton of Vaud, in beautiful, mountainous Switzerland in 1836. Peter attended school and graduated there. At the age of 19, his professor of Latin became sick and the local Board of Education asked Daniel to instruct the Latin class. As one can imagine, this was a difficult task for him as he had to teach students who were only one or two years his junior; nevertheless, he gave a good account of himself and his record is good on this score.

During the summer of 1852, Peter worked in the local food store of the widow, Madame Clement, who also owned a candle-making factory for the locality. The conscientious, dedicated working qualities of Daniel Peter were first evidenced here and he gained the esteem of Madame Clement. Four years later, Daniel and his brother, Julien, operated the candle-making factory while Madame Clement retained its control. The two brothers developed and improved the candles, which at that time in history were the only light source, and they sold well locally. In fact, the demand was such that the factory required a larger working space, and the brothers purchased a building at 19 Rue des Bosquets, in Vevey, Switzerland.

The purchase of this building was made from the estate of Francois Louis Cailler. It was through Madame Clement that the young Daniel Peter was introduced to the Cailler family and through them, he met Fanny Cailler, the eldest daughter of the family, whom he married on October 1, 1863.

In the United States, a Colonel Drake of Pennsylvania had discovered oil in that state in 1859 and subsequently, kerosene was introduced in Switzerland about 1864 or 1865 which greatly affected the candle-making business of Daniel and Julien Peter. Daniel realized that the earnings from the candle-making business would not suffice for both brothers n ow, so he proposed to his brother-in-law, August Cailler, an association for the manufacture of chocolate, however, this did not take place. It appeared to Daniel that the chocolate business had received such a favorable public reaction that it would soon overcome the Caillers' capacity to produce the product. It was for this reason that Daniel decided to go into business on his own. Peter was a very determined young man and he realized that in going on his own in this business, he would be a competitor to his wife's family, however, his lovely Fanny gave him her full confidence and support.

Julien Peter remained in the candle-making business and used only a part of the building originally established for this purpose. Daniel Peter installed his chocolate business in the remainder of the space. It is interesting to note that sometime during this period, Daniel Peter, in order to know as much about the chocolate business as he could, worked as an employee of a chocolate factory in Lyon, France, for a few weeks. He spent his time in the evenings and on Sundays documenting the technical questions raised in the manufacture of chocolate in order to know the mechanics and chemistry of the business. He also studied the cocoa harvest and transportation of the basic cocoa ingredients from the tropics.

Within a few years, Daniel Peter had formed a strong friendship with his neighbor, Henry Nestle, who had settled in Vevey, Switzerland, about 1843. Nestle had developed a process to make baby food in which he used what was then called a "milky flour." It was at this point in his life that Daniel Peter asked himself the question, "Why not try to make a chocolate containing milk?" This idea stayed with the young Daniel Peter to the point of becoming an obsession with him. He further realized that in order to stay in the chocolate market, already principally controlled by Caliller, Suchard, Kohler, and others, he must produce a new product that would become pleasing and desired by the consumer.

Peter said of this period in his life:
"It did not take me long to convince myself that if I wanted to place myself and my product within the already existing factories, I must try for a specialty. Therefore, it appeared that if I could unite the milk and the chocolate in a state which would assure conservation and satisfactory transportation, I would make useful work for many, while being sure at the same time that the ownership of this industry would be difficult to exploit by anyone."
In 1869, Julien Peter died, leaving Daniel in charge of both businesses and still carrying on the major problems of research associated with the manufacture of milk chocolate. Daniel Peter, therefore, gave up the candle-making business at this point and devoted every waking hour to the manufacture of milk chocolate.

At this time, Peter's personnel consisted of one employee and his wife. He manufactured his chocolate products in the daytime and did his office work and research in the evenings and often late into the night. He obtained a stable product, composed of cocoa, sugar and milk that was unlike the milk-flour in baby food used by Nestle. Wheat flour, as used by Nestle, has little if any fatty body, while cocoa contains, depending upon its source and the degree of maturity of the harvested bean, from 45% to 55% of fatty matter.

As was well know to most persons interested in the product at the time, water ad fat do not mix. Not only is the mixture unstable, but the fatty product is simply not suitable to work with. Therefore, it remained that a certain percentage of the fat had to be extracted from the cocoa bean. This process was known and was relatively simple. It was also important to dehydrate, at least partially, as much as possible of the water content - 87% to 89% from the milk. The equipment for this operation was complex and complicated. It required various tools and machines which were relatively costly and quite difficult to obtain in those days. In fact, such an installation represents in itself an industry which should be and would become integrated into the making of milk chocolate. Unfortunately, Daniel Peter was not in a position to acquire this equipment.

In persistently seeking the process for a more economical manufacture of the baby food, Daniel Peter started his laboratory work by evaporating the milk itself in the free air, which was a time consuming process and required constant surveillance and attention. By mixing first sugar with the milk, the evaporation was aided, but it was hard to determine the te proportions of each product. As it was simply not enough to merely taste a finished product, weeks led to months in the checking of each individual test. Peter conducted many tests, all of which were quite expensive and none of which produced the desired results.

Speaking of his early tests, Peter expressed himself at the dedication of the Orbe factory on the send day of February, 1901:
"My first tests did not give or produce the milk chocolate as we know it today. Much work took place and after having found the proper mixture of cocoa and milk - a mixture I was told was impossible to obtain - my tests, I thought, were successful. I was happy, but a few weeks later, as I examined the contents, an odor of bad cheese or rancid butter came to my nose. I was desperate, but what was I do do? go back and try a different procedure? Being as it was, I did not lose courage, but I continued to work as long as circumstances allowed."
In 1873, Peter went to Guin, a canton of Fribourg, for the purpose of ordering a sugared condensed milk from the Anglo-Swiss there who had jut opened a branch of the Cham factory. Peter expressed himself to the director of that factory in this manner:
"This condensed milk is to be used in the fabrication of a new item, which I am certain we will require before too long in very large amounts. I anticipate, therefore, the ordering of large quantities in due time."
At this time, the American brothers, known as the Page brothers, had come to Cham, Switzerland, but they were not yet in competition with Henry Nestle since they only made condensed milk while Nestle was producing the "milky flour" for the baby food process. There was in fact, actually no competition with Peter's friend, Nestle.

The results of the tests, however, conducted by Daniel Peter toward the manufacture of milk chocolate did improve. Peter asked that his agents put his product for sale in cooler and dryer parts of the territory served by the factory. It is interesting to not that Daniel Peter sold a small quantity which he personally guaranteed to take back for refund should the merchandise prove unsatisfactory. It can here be seen that Daniel was optimistic, but unfortunately too much so.

The immediate produce was favorably received, but after a few weeks, Peter received the unsold merchandise back. It had become rancid and he received some unflattering commentaries from his outlets because of this. He recognized that the criticism was justified. It turned out that the milk from Guin was not sufficiently condensed and therefore Peter hesitated to order more until he had achieved his goal for milk chocolate. He needed to avail himself of a proper vacuum with other supporting equipment which he could not afford at that time.

Peter then equipped a small room which he called a "drying room" in which the product he made was transformed into flakes, spread out on trays, and exposed to a high temperature for further evaporation. This material was weighted before and after its exposure in order to determine the amount of evaporation. For Peter, the results were favorable. He was convinced that he was near his goal. He wished to confirm for himself these last results by getting all the moisture that he could out of the drying process. Finally, in 1875, Daniel Peter obtained his impossible victory. Through his hard work, he could not offer to his friendly dealers fro the Lac Leman region of Switzerland a milk chocolate of which the normal length of shelf life was assured.

Very quickly throughout this region of Western Europe, the Daniel Peter milk chocolate found favorable acceptance, and the demand far exceeded the supply, making it necessary for Daniel to increase his production. The big decision for Peter had now to be made. He obtained sufficient credit from Swiss bankers to install a small copper vacuum and the equipment for manufacture with a capacity of from 60 to 80 liter. Difficulties and worries were never spared Peter during those long, tiring years, and although he declared himself pleased with the results of all testing, he still wanted to improve upon the taste of his milk chocolate.

With tireless effort, Peter worked out the desired proportions, the choice of the best cocoas from all over the world, searching for a proper balance between bitterness in the choice of the cocoa, or an exaggerated sweetness from too much sugar. He sought guidance from all those who would help him, from people in the area, his family, friends, clients, and workers, asking their opinions during the testing period. Finally in 1887, Daniel Peter adopted the original formula for what was to become the first successful milk chocolate in the entire world. Peter called his product, "Gala" from the Greek, which means, "from the milk."

It should be noted by all that since the early 20th century, the countries of Europe have been producing milk chocolate of varying qualities. It should also be understood that the development of the process by Daniel Peter was created in the community of Vevey, with the Canton of Vaud, in Switzerland, and further pointed out that the first chocolate process, although not milk chocolate, was also created in Vevey, Switzerland, by Francois Louis Cailler, at the age of twenty-three, upon his return to that community from France and Italy in 1819.

In 1901, the Peter milk chocolate was introduced in the British Isles. That same year, the city of Vevey, Switzerland, was unable to supply sufficient milk nor a large enough labor force to meet the expansion of the Peter plant. Therefore, a second milk chocolate plant was built in Orbe, Switzerland, which is also located in the Canton of Vaud. In 1904, Daniel Peter merged his successful operation with Amedee Kohler Chocolate Company located in Echandens, about three miles from Lausonne and fifteen miles from Vevey, and traded under the firm's name of Societe Generale Suisse de Chocolat. Peter and Kohler sent a specialty team of four trained men with their families to be the general overseers of the company and to head various sections in the Fulton plant. Mr. G. Dentan was in charge of the treatment of the cocoa; Mr. Louis Michaud was in charge of the processing of the milk; Mr. Ernest Brechon was charged with the mixing and refining process for the manufacturer. Mr. Louis Ducret was responsible for conching and moulding. Mrs. Dentan was in charge of the wrapping and a Mrs. Gustave Ansermrt was the director of the entire process.

In 1904, an agreement as reached establishing that the Societe Generale Suisse de Chocolat would manufacture a new chocolate with less cocoa and more sugar, thereby creating a sweeter milk chocolate which would be produced by that firm under the name of Nestle, and that all of the chocolate products would be sold worldwide by the Nestle selling organization. In 1911, the descendants of the F. L. Cailler Company joined to form the now famous company name of Peter, Cailler, and Kohler, Swiss Chocolate Company. Finally, in 1929, this company and Nestle merged in what was then known as the Nestle Anglo-Swiss Corporation.

Daniel Peter, the inventor of milk chocolate for the entire world, died on November 4, 1919. At his funeral in Switzerland, he was highly eulogized for his work and his kind generosity towards the organization of cultural groups which are still active and befit all of the people of that country, and the region of Vevey, especially.

World Hepatitis Day


Every year on July 28th, World Hepatitis Day aims to increase the awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis as a major global health threat. All types of viral hepatitis can cause inflammation of the liver; however, hepatitis B and C infection can result in a lifelong, chronic infection.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly 400 million people have chronic viral hepatitis worldwide and most of them do not know they are infected. More than 1 million people die each year from causes related to viral hepatitis, commonly cirrhosis and liver cancer.

The date of July 28th was chosen for World Hepatitis Day in honor of the birthday of Nobel Laureate Professor Baruch Samuel Blumberg, who discovered the hepatitis B virus.

Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus that can cause mild to severe illness but does not lead to chronic infection. Globally, there are an estimated 1.4 million cases of hepatitis A every year. The hepatitis A virus is spread by ingestion of contaminated food and water, or through direct contact with an infectious person.

Hepatitis A is a virus that is usually spread through food or water contaminated with fecal matter—even in microscopic amounts. This occurs most often in countries where Hepatitis A is common, especially where there is a lack of safe water and poor sanitation.

Although rare, foodborne outbreaks of Hepatitis A still occur in the United States. Contamination of food can happen at any point: growing, harvesting, processing, handling, and even after cooking. The best way to prevent getting infected with Hepatitis A is to get a safe, effective vaccine. In the United States, the Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all children at age 1 and adults at risk of infection.

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus that can cause both acute and chronic disease. Globally, there are an estimated 240 million people living with chronic Hepatitis B. The hepatitis B virus is spread through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person.

The best way to prevent getting infected with Hepatitis B is to get vaccinated. In the United States, the Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all babies at birth and adults at risk of infection.

Hepatitis B is common in many areas across the world, especially Asian and African countries. Left untreated, up to 25 percent of people with hepatitis B develop serious liver problems such as cirrhosis and even liver cancer. The good news is that treatments are available that can help slow down or prevent liver damage.

CDC launched Know Hepatitis B,a national, multilingual campaign aiming to increase testing for Hepatitis B among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in 2013. An estimated 1 in 12 AAPI is living with hepatitis B, but most don't know they are infected. The campaign delivers culturally relevant messages in English, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. The Know Hepatitis B campaign was created in partnership with Hep B United, a coalition of Asian community groups from around the country. Visit www.cdc.gov/knowhepatitisbfor more information.

Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus that can cause both acute and chronic disease. Globally, there are an estimated 130–150 million people living with chronic Hepatitis C. The hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus. There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C.

Unlike Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, there is no vaccine available to prevent Hepatitis C. The best way to prevent Hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, such as sharing needles or other equipment to prepare and inject cosmetic substances, drugs, or steroids.

In addition to recommending testing for anyone at risk for infection, CDC also recommends that everyone born from 1945-1965 get a blood test for hepatitis C. People born during these years are five times more likely to be infected and account for more than three out of every four Americans living with hepatitis C. CDC's national Know More Hepatitis campaign educates people born from 1945-1965 about the importance of getting tested.

People with Hepatitis C often have no symptoms and can live with the disease for decades without feeling sick. Even without symptoms, liver damage may be silently occurring. Fortunately, new treatments are available that can cure Hepatitis C.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Holidays and Observances for July 27 2014

Auntie's Day


This Sunday, July 27, is the 6th Annual Auntie's Day, the day I established in 2009 to celebrate and honor the maternal women in a child's life. Aunts by relation, aunts by choice, great-aunts, godmothers and all women who love the children in their lives deserve a day to be recognized and acknowledged. Here's why:
  1. Nearly half of American women of childbearing age are not moms, more than ever before.  A recent national study on moms and non-moms I partnered on with DeVries Global PR, entitled Shades of Otherhood, revealed that 80 percent of non-moms have a niece or nephew by relation or by choice in their lives. 
  2. We don't make much of a distinction between loving kids we're related to and loving our friends' kids. About half (49%) of non-moms have a niece or nephew by relation, and 41% have a niece or nephew by choice.
  3. Whether or not we want children of our own, we love the kids in our lives. 
  4. Even when we are related to our nieces and nephews, there's no legal obligation, or any obligation in fact, to love and nurture them. And yet we do.
  5. In a study I partnered on with Weber Shandwick in 2012 entitled, The Power of the PANK®, the term I coined for the growing number of Professional Aunts No Kids, we learned that childless aunts spend on average $387 per child in their lives, per year.  Moreover, 76 percent of PANKs spend over $500, per child, per year. Baseline just one child per aunt -- and many aunts have more than one niece, nephew or godchild -- that's $9 billion a year spent on kids we love.
  6. Lest you think these big bucks are spent just on the coolest new toys , tech and tutus, more than a third (34%) of PANKs contribute to a child's education. That's college savings plans, tutors, even school tuition.
  7. That's because we Savvy Aunties don't just want to help our nieces and nephews; 45 percent of PANKs have given gifts to parent(s) of the child(ren) in their lives to help them in providing for their kids
  8. Still, one-third of us admit we're also more likely to give the children more expensive gifts than others in their lives. 
  9. This is in spite of our cautious spending habits, as most  of us (75%) say we're more careful with how we spend money since the economic crisis, demonstrating that we are willing to make sacrifices for the kids in our lives.
  10. We want our nieces and nephews to grow, develop and see the world. Nearly half (48%) of aunts love to travel with our nieces and nephews.
  11. We're not solely gift-givers of course. Nearly 70 percent of PANKs say that the children in their lives see them as a role model. 
  12. Part of that might be our cool-aunt factor. Thirty-six percent of PANKs say that their nieces and nephews come to them for fashion and trend advice.
  13. And parents come to us for a helping hand. Thirty-four percent of PANKs enjoy running errands for their nieces and nephews, like walking them to school, taking them to soccer practice, or going with them to the doctor.
  14. That's because we're kindhearted "BenevolAunts."  We're more likely (57%) than the average woman (48%) to participate in community service, charity work and volunteering. 
  15. Our Otherhood survey showed that even though the childless aunt may want her own children, very soon or one day, she is happy and always expects to be.  In fact, 80 percent of women of the Otherhood said they could live happy lives without children of their own, whether or not they want children.
  16. Because of the "Mom-opia" in America, the uber focus on motherhood as the holy grail of womanhood, with celebrity magazine covers touting the latest celebrity or royal baby bump or newborn, studies have shown that it can wear on childless women, making them feel less-than or unnatural for not having children of their own, no matter how maternal they are.
  17. The circumstantial infertility of those who deeply yearn for motherhood within the context of a loving partnership but remain single, is disenfranchised grief, the type of grief that goes unacknowledged and is misunderstood. People in these women's lives assume they aren't doing enough to find a partner, are too picky, or don't want to be mothers enough simply because they aren't mothers, yet.
  18. While Mother's Day can certainly make a childless aunt feel left out, most holidays, from Christmas to Easter, Thanksgiving to Halloween, can make her feel disconnected from family and society.
  19. Many children speak of their aunts and godmothers as a second mother to them, always being there if and when their mother can't be. Some of these devoted adopt their nieces and nephews as their own, officially or unofficially, when their nieces' and nephews' mother (and father) are no longer able to parent. These "ParAunts" sacrifice so much, most often unexpectedly.
  20. Of course, one need not be living with nieces and nephews to prove one's love. The LDA, long-distance aunt, travels to see those kids and spends time over Facetime or Skype with them, often saddened to have to miss milestones and events in a child's life. Yes, it often means more to us to be there than it does to the kids.
  21. It doesn't take money to put a smile on a child's life. Studies show that the "QualAuntie Time" an aunt spends with a baby and young child simply through uninterrupted playtime, supports their emotional, cognitive and social skill development, not to mention their motor dexterity. 
  22. The love doesn't end when childhood does. Many Savvy Aunties are deeply involved in their adult nieces' and nephews' lives, moving into the cool Great-Aunt role with just as much love and devotion.
  23. And parents know that the favorite aunt is always there for their children, through thick and thin. They love their nieces and nephews deeply and unconditionally -- and forever.
  24. She's the "ConfidAunt" children and teens go to when they don't feel they can talk to their parents. While she's not their mom, she's also not their friend. She's their aunt, the perfect blend. 
  25. Babies are born from the womb. Maternity is born from the soul. There are many ways to "mother" a child. Aunthood is as close as it gets. 
Being a cool aunt and role model is a precious gift to your nieces and nephews. Whatever you do for a living, whatever your lifestyle, your nieces and nephews look up to you. It’s a beautiful, if unsung, role that is immeasurably helpful in raising good kids. I know because I have two nephews and a niece. I love spending time with them when I have the chance.

With Auntie’s Day upon us, it a great time to reflect on just how unique being a Savvy Auntie is. You have lots of choices when it comes to creating a relationship with your niece or nephew. Here’s how:
  • Role model: You can influence your nieces and nephews by what you do even more than what you say. Often, you are looked up to as being way cooler and more cutting edge than their mothers. As kids’ desire for independence grows, they start to look outside the immediate family for role models. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to help the kids look beyond the influence of the media, celebrities and pop culture. You can share your outlook, wisdom, skills, interests and talents. If your worldview and lifestyle are different from their parents, you provide a valuable alternative perspective.
  •  Friend/support system: It’s easier for an aunt to be more of a friend. You generally don’t have the burden of parenting the kids, so your relationship can be more spontaneous and more focused on friendship. You may find that the kids will open up to you far more than they do to their parents. You can take on some parenting roles but what makes you cool in the kids’ eyes is the special times you share. You can do things with the kids that they don’t normally do with their parents: take them mountain biking… to the spa… vacations… volunteering… or you can just go sit on a rock and listen while they pour their heart out to you. You don’t have to buy lavish presents to bond with the kids. You don’t have to spend a dime, really. One-on-one time, an empathetic ear, words of wisdom and unconditional love will strengthen the friendship.
  • Secondary parent: If you live close by, you may be in the position to help the parents with child-rearing responsibilities. You can reinforce the ideals and core values that the parents are teaching, and your own perspective on life will add a wonderful dimension to parenting.
  •  Buffer: In difficult situations, aunts can serve as buffers between parents and kids - particularly during turbulent teen years. Instead of taking sides, aunts can be a non-judgmental listener  and help each family member see the other side of a disagreement.
You will most likely fall into one of these roles as life unfolds; but don’t think that you “must” take any of these roles on. Just be sure to communicate what you are willing and not willing to do. 

On Sunday, July 27, and every fourth Sunday in July from here on, know that you are acknowledged and celebrated for all that you do. Aunthood is a gift. This day is yours.

Bagpipe Appreciation Day


The Bagpipe Appreciation Day celebrates this ancient musical, the Highlands Scottish Bagpipe. This instrument is a quintessential part of the Scottish tradition. The day celebrates the tunes of this traditional instrument that were used to herald battles, usher in auspicious events such as weddings and also to bid farewell at funerals.

The original bagpipes are said to have originated in the Middle East but became more popular in the Scottish Highlands and evolved there. This instrument is second only to percussion in the evolution of musical instruments. Today, the typical bagpipe consists of three pipes emerging from a sac-like bag. These bags are crafted from elk or sheep skin. These sacs fill with air that is released when the musician presses his arm to create the music. There is also a fourth pipe that holds nine holes to create changes in chord and pitch.

All the major cities in the west celebrate this day by holding at least one performance in their town square or town hall. It is worth taking some time off to attend these concerts in appreciation of this ancient musical device.

National Barbie-in-a-Blender Day


National Barbie in a Blender Day is a holiday created by a student group called Freeculture.org that promotes the public interest in intellectual property and telecommunications policy.

It seems that Tom Forsythe, an artist, had created a series of works of art to comment on the crass consumerism he saw around him. He was also commenting on the plasticisation of relationships and the myth of outward perfection. His collection was called "Food Chain Barbie" It was a series of photographs that included "Cutting Board Barbie", "Baked Barbie," and "Barbie Enchiladas." There were pictures of naked Barbies strapped to rotisseries, seated in cocktail glasses, and in blenders. Where Forsythe saw crass consumerism, I saw the objectification and dehumanization of women. Part of the beauty of art is that we can all find something unique in it.

Mattel, guardian of all things Barbie, took Forsythe to court. What followed was a 5 year legal dispute. He incurred $1.8 million dollars in legal fees to in that time. Mattel sued for copyright infringement. I understand their offense at the images in "Food Chain Barbie." The courts in 2004 decided the works were parody or satire that could not be blocked by the trademark laws. The court further found Mattel's case frivolous and unreasonable. Mattel became liable for all Forsythe's legal fees. The court case provided a large amount of publicity to an artist for a series that would have long been forgotten by most.

Barbie in a Blender Day was begun by an international student group called Freeculture.org. Their goal is to support free speech in the wake of the increasing challenges faced by those who wish to comment on society. Nelson Pavlovsky of Freeculture.org put it succinctly, "If you want to talk about the problems with society, all the widely recognized figures are copyrighted. In the past, cultural icons belonged to everyone." Today, writers, singers and artists face the looming possibility of being hauled into court by a corporation if you dare touch on their image. Not many of us could wage a sustained 5 year battle against a well funded corporation. The corporations can silence us by simply outspending us.

WARNING: I could be wrong about this, but it appears that some of these experiments may have been performed by individuals impaired by illegal substances. Do not try this at home!

Parents' Day


To raise a child from a little baby to a good and respectful human being is one of the biggest responsibilities of parents. Parents are a synonym for unconditional love and commitment. A parent walk with their children at all the times guides them at difficulty and gives a shoulder in to cry on; and all these without being asked for. So shouldn't this unconditional and pure love and guidance be celebrated, and shouldn't the parents be thanked for the person and guide they are? this beautiful gift of love should always be acknowledged and treasured.

Parents Day, a day to appreciate the love and support parents provide, was adopted in the year 1994.  The U S President Bill Clinton, in the year 1994 proposed a day to commemorate the effort and love given by the parents to raise and prepare the child for everything in future. He signed a law resolution and the fourth Sunday of July was decided as a day for "recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children." This law signed into the resolution was also happily adopted by the US Congress. Parents Day celebration was very fast accepted by many part of the world and today millions of children take the opportunity to make the day special and memorable for their parents.

Parents Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of July every year and this year it will fall on Sunday the 25th. This is an opportunity to thank for the beautiful relationship and love the parents maintain with their children. Parents Day can be taken to thank the two very important people in your life. Take this opportunity to make them feel special and appreciated and you can do these in many ways; big and small.

Parents Day need not be celebrated with lavish party or expensive gifts. The day is to honor the love, attachment, respect and compassion shown by the very important two people in the life of every individual. So make it a day when they really feel proud of the parents they are and the children they have. Why not spent the entire day within the family? And share some beautiful intimate moments together. Cook up something which both your parents enjoy and make it their day. Talk about all those happy and proud moments you had with your parents and thank them from heart for being who they are and most importantly for making you the person who you are.

You can also celebrate the day by going out to one of your parent's favorite spot and buy them a cone of ice cream or any other little pleasure which they bought for you when you were small. And tell them how much you appreciate all those small and lovely little things they did for you then and are still doing. Tell them about all those little things you love about them and have learnt from them.

Presents and gifts are the best way to say "we care" and so do buy have something to give your parents on this special day. You can give reserve them a table at their favorite restaurant if they like eating out. You can gift them a holiday package to any of their favorite spot or to the place they had their honeymoon. You don’t have to run behind expensive gifts to make them happy coz most of the time a little visit or a phone call would do. You can take home a small gift with you if you are planning to visit your parents this Parents Day. Buy a bunch of your mother's favorite flower and pick up your fathers favorite magazine at the store near you and tell them you care. You can also buy your mother a beautiful scarf, a knitting set or a cookbook or anything you know she loves or will love. And for your father you can get a pen, his favorite cigar or a bottle of his special wine. Anyhow make the gift a special and unique one which says "Just for you." without any words.

Anything you buy them and everything you do on this special occasion should be done with a smile on your face, and love and concern in your heart. And never forget it is not just one day in the whole year when you should be with them, take a few moments every now and then to thank them and tell them… "I could never ever have or wish for better parents than both of you."

Take Your Pants For A Walk Day


When it comes to unusual holidays, July 27 ranks right up there. It's Take Your Pants for a Walk Day! Seriously! While the origins and creator of this annual event are unknown, Take Your Pants for a Walk Day encourages folks across the nation to get off the couch and take a hike! Just don't forget your pants (or shorts or sweats.)

Whether you head for the hills, walk around the block or go for a nice, long jog, today serves as an important reminder that exercise is good for the body and the mind. Turn off the TV and all those handy-dandy (and often annoying) electronic devices, grab your favorite gal pal or fella and go out and smell the roses! When was the last time you really looked at the scenery in your neck of the woods? Life is short - enjoy the view!

Take Your Houseplant For A Walk Day


How many people have walked their houseplants? I don't know of any personally. Today I am going to walk one of my plants, and see if it thrives over those left behind.

According to research on the Wellcat Herbs website, either walking plants or having a plant parade will help my greenery know their neighborhood environment better. It is good for plant health and good for humans to exercise.  It is like walking your dog, but a new leash in life, you don't have to bag up pet droppings. Yahoo! Internet Life voted Wellcat Holidays as the Strange Site of the Day.

How to take your Houseplants for a Walk

You will need:
  • Plants
  • Wagon
  • Spray bottle of water
  • Music
  1. Collect plants and place them in a wagon. Leave plenty of space so all the plants will enjoy their day out. Tallest ones in the back and smallest in front and take along a spray bottle in case they get motion sick or overheated. This will refresh them and they will prosper with great care. 
  2. Talk to your plants. Explain to Spidey, the spider plant, and Zeb, the Zebra plant, that it’s a good day to stretch their legs.
  3.  Dress up with your plants put on your Sunday best to match that Ivy or Hypoestes in her Polka Dot (plant) best, there is nothing like a sunny day to chase those blues away.

Here is a list of common household plants to adorn your house with, so that next year you can take your houseplant for a walk.

Plan a Plant Parade
If you want to go all out with your plants, then gather all of your Cincinnati neighbors, friends, and family to parade these beautiful plants around the block. Perhaps you can have judging and prizes for best greenery, most flowery, tallest plant, smallest plant, most lush, and best of show.

Tips: 
  • This unique holiday is an opportunity to celebrate the little things in life.
  • Happy details will keep you and your friends chuckling for years and after all laughter is the best medicine.
  • Talking to plants will keep you well rooted and a full life.
  • Your yard will flourish while your cynical neighbor will have a barren landscape.
  • It is safer to walk with your plants; you can deter criminals by talking and singing to your plants like Mary Poppins when a stranger gets too close.
  • Walk your houseplants to prevent anything from Happening; you have watched the movie right?
Warning: If your neighbors sends men with straight-jackets, simply tell them Thomas and Ruth Roy at Wellcat.com suggested it for your plants good health and your own wellness, after all walking is a great form of exercise. In addition, it is safer to walk with your houseplants, it deters criminals effectively, just begin talking and singing to your plants when a stranger approaches and he will not even get close.

Walk on Stilts Day


If you've ever been to the circus or a parade, you have without a doubt seen someone walking along high above the crowd on a pair of stilts. To the common man, stilts are the mainstay of theatrical performers, clowns, jugglers, and that odd looking fellow from the Liberal Arts College in their annual parade. What most people don’t know is that stilts have a long and august history in many cultures, for reasons varying from ceremonial to purely practical. Walk on Stilts Day is the perfect time to learn about this surprisingly useful tools, and maybe try out a pair for yourself!

A Stilt is described as a ‘pillar, post, or pole employed to assist a person or structure in standing above the ground’. While most of us, as mentioned previously, have only seen them employed for the purposes of entertainment, they have also been used in many industries, from shepherding to construction. In some cases stilts are actually employed in the construction of a building as part of the permanent structure. After all, if you find yourself living in a flood plain, upon the beach, or some other area where the ground is less than reliable, what better way to protect yourself than raising yourself above it all?

The process of employing stilts for mobility, however, has been around since as far back as the 6th Century BC. In the Landes region of France, shepherds would use them to watch their flocks from an elevated position, while those who lived in town often used them to traverse the sodden earth in their normal activities. While they fell out of use for such practical uses for many years, recently there has been a resurgence in those industries where there is a need to work at a height further above ground than the worker can reach, and consistently enough where moving a ladder is at best inconvenient. The most common of these is the drywall industry, so commonly used is it, in fact, that a special design, and a name to match, has been put together for them. In Germany they are called Handwerkerstelzen. Or Drywall stilts.

Walk on Stilts Day gives an excellent opportunity for you to join the august ranks of people who have used the stilts for work and play throughout history. If you’re ready for a new hobby that will take you on adventures to new heights, then you’re ready to try out stilts! You can find them at a local supplier, or look online for ready made ones. The truly adventurous can even try looking online to find kits to make them. When you start out walking on stilts, try a shorter stilt to begin with, getting used to having longer legs can be quite the challenge. Then, as you get more and more proficient, start adding height to the stilts! Eventually you’ll be strolling along, with a new perspective on life!

National Scotch Day


National Scotch Day is celebrated annually on July 27 in the United States. While this food holiday (or more accurately beverage holiday) may be limited to those of legal drinking age, it provides an opportunity to honor this much-beloved liquor and spread awareness of the joys of scotch as well as its rich history.

Scotch is typically consumed neat or on the rocks, but is sometimes mixed with simple ingredients such as water or club soda. It is rarely made into complex cocktails, as those who drink the stuff typically like to savor its rich taste. Scotches range from the pedestrian (i.e. cheap) to the fine and pricey varieties, and some are aged for up to 18 years or longer (the older the scotch, the more it is likely to cost).

The exact origins of National Scotch Day are hard to track down, and it is unclear when and by whom this holiday was started. Scotch itself is essentially a whiskey made in Scotland, and nothing that comes from any other country may be labeled as scotch. The history of scotch as we know it dates back to the mid 1800's, when malt liquor was transformed by the invention of the Coffey or Patent Still (created by a man named Aeneas Coffey). With this invention, it became possible to make spirits out of grains rather than malt (as all prior scotches were).

Makers of scotch may promote National Scotch Day by planning events and offering specials on their product, and local bars and restaurants may reduce prices of scotch to celebrate the holiday as well. You can celebrate by sipping on a glass of scotch, and may even hold a scotch tasting with your friends, family and other scotch lovers.

National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day


More than six decades ago, courageous Americans joined Korean patriots as they defended their right to decide their own fate.  They fought through mud, snow, and heavy fire.  As they stood firm against the tide of Communism, nearly 37,000 Americans gave their last full measure of devotion.  Thanks to all who served and all who died, allied forces pushed invading armies back across the 38th parallel, and on July 27, 1953, they secured a hard-earned victory.  On National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, we honor the men and women who sacrificed so a people they had never met would know the blessings of liberty and security.

Yet our gratitude is not enough.  As a Nation, we must do more to keep faith with our veterans and the families that stand with them always.  Just as they have done their duty, we must do ours.  We will never waver in our commitment to fully account for the captured and the missing, nor will we ever stop striving to give our veterans the care and opportunities they have earned.

As we salute the men and women who made this victory possible, we reflect on the open and prosperous society that is their enduring legacy.  The Republic of Korea has risen from occupation and ruin to become one of the world's most vibrant democracies.  While carefully defending the peace won 61 years ago, the South Korean people have built an advanced, dynamic economy.  Today, the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea -- forged in war and fortified by common ideals -- remains as strong as ever.

This progress was not an accident.  It reminds us that liberty and democracy do not come easily; we must win them, tend to them constantly, and defend them without fail.  As we mark this anniversary, let us show the full care and support of a grateful Nation to every service member who fought on freedom's frontier.