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.