Sunday, August 31, 2014

Holidays and Observances for August 31 2014

Eat Outside Day

It's Eat Outside Day! Today is the last day of August, which makes this a very timely celebration. It's the perfect opportunity to take your breakfast, lunch, or dinner into the great outdoors and enjoy the last few days of warm summer weather.

Today there are many opportunities to eat outdoors, but for much of our history it was fairly uncommon. Partly explained by dust and dirt from unpaved roads, even in the 20th century when this had been overcome there were still few outdoor restaurants, particularly with the spread of air-conditioning after World War II. Though impossible to quantify, it’s possible that dining in open air was more in vogue in the late 18th century than in 1960.

“Pleasure gardens,” as they were called, were enjoyed in 18th-century American cities. Smaller ones were called tea gardens. Patrons, including whole families, were invited to lounge, stroll, and possibly spend the day. They offered a variety of food and drink, but by far the most popular order was ice cream. Many gardens were run by English tavern-keepers or French confectioners. New York’s Vauxhall Gardens, which contained a wax museum, was managed in the 1760s and 1770s by Sam Fraunces of the West Indies, later steward to George Washington. In 1798 a tea garden behind a Philadelphia tavern advertized it was “laid out in grass plats, provided with tables, benches, boxes, bowers, etc. and delightfully shaded by fruit trees.”

Outdoor gardens where patrons consumed mead, lemonade, and light snacks gave way around the Civil War to German beer gardens (Bismarck Gardens, Chicago, pictured) which, like tea gardens, were often situated on the outskirts of cities. They continued until the second decade of the 20th century when burgeoning suburbs wishing to eliminate alcohol purveyors succeeded in closing them down. Prohibition also defeated the dreams of American soldiers returning from WWI who had enjoyed sidewalk cafes in Paris and wanted to reproduce them in their homeland. But would they have caught on in a pragmatic country like America so dedicated to business and industry that sitting at a sidewalk café seemed like decadent loafing?

In truth dining outdoors was enjoyed by Americans mostly when they were in tourist mode, at the seashore or in Europe. Seasonal tea rooms delightfully situated in places such as Marblehead MA (pictured) commonly offered afternoon tea, lunch, and dinner on porches, lawns, and patios. World’s fairs were another place to enjoy Continental ways. Beginning with the 1876 Centennial in Philadelphia, fairs always included provisions for dining al fresco.

There were a few 20th-century exceptions to the general disinclination to dine outdoors. Rooftop restaurants, usually atop hotels such as the Astor (pictured here), attracted fashionable patrons around 1900 and persisted through the 1920s. New York had more than most cities, but they did flourish elsewhere, such as at San Antonio’s St. Anthony hotel. The title of “first” was claimed by St. Louis restaurateur Tony Faust who added rooftop dining in 1877.

And some odd artistic types — “bohemians” — enjoyed summertime dinners in the backyards of small Italian and French restaurants as early as the 1890s. By 1905, Town & Country magazine declared this habit had attained fad status among adventure seekers.

Louis Sherry claimed to have set up the first sidewalk café in this country, outside his Fifth Avenue restaurant in 1900. He wasn’t actually the first. In 1891 women out shopping in Manhattan liked to “eat al fresco under the vineclad, bush-shaded bower” in front of the Vienna Café. Not too surprisingly, the warmer climates of Florida and California proved most hospitable to sidewalk dining. The custom did not really catch on in a big way across the U.S., though. Those sidewalk cafes that were created in the mid-20th century, such as the St. Moritz Hotel’s Café de la Paix (NYC, pictured), usually advertised their Continental atmosphere, suggesting that eating on sidewalks had not yet earned true American status.

There are many ways that you can participate in Eat Outside Day. Eat at your favorite outdoor restaurant, enjoy a popsicle on your porch, organize a barbeque in your backyard, or have a picnic at a local park. Whatever you decide to do, just be sure to enjoy some time outside. Have fun!

Love Litigating Lawyers Day

That's right folks, August 31 is a national holiday, and an important one at that. It's "Love Litigating Lawyers Day!" Today is the perfect opportunity to go up to your favorite litigator, give him (or her) a big hug, and hear him say those three little words: "Don't touch me." Just kidding. 

Litigating lawyers, get a bad rap, thanks to all the jokes out there. But the truth is, people don't come to lawyers when they are having a good day- you come when you need help, guidance, and someone to listen after you or someone you love has been injured. They don't call us "counselors" for nothing! Litigating lawyers work hard to right wrongs and make a difference in the lives of the public they serve.

 Litigation attorneys, also known as “litigators” or “trial lawyers,” represent plaintiffs and defendants in civil cases and manage all phases of the litigation process from investigation, pleadings and discovery to pre-trial, trial, settlement and appeal.

Below is an overview of the diverse tasks litigation attorneys undertake during the course of litigation. These tasks vary based on the nature of the dispute, the experience level of the attorney and whether the litigation attorney is representing the plaintiff or defendant.

Initial Case Investigation/Assessment
Litigation attorneys often conduct an initial case investigation to determine, in the plaintiff’s case, if enough evidence exists to file a lawsuit or, in the defendant’s case, what evidence exists to defend a potential suit. The investigation process may include locating witnesses, taking witness statements, gathering documents, interviewing the client and investigating the facts leading to the dispute. Litigation attorneys often engage in pre-litigation settlement discussions to resolve the matter before a lawsuit is filed.

Litigation attorneys draft a variety of pleadings and motions on behalf of the plaintiff or defendant. Plaintiff attorneys will draft a summons and complaint to commence the lawsuit. Defense attorneys collaborate with the client to investigate the allegations of the lawsuit and formulate responses. Litigation attorneys also draft a variety of motions including motions to strike, dismiss, amend or change venue and motions for judgment on the pleadings.

The discovery process involves the exchange of relevant information between the parties. Litigation attorneys employ a variety of discovery devices to gain information relevant to the lawsuit. These devices include interrogatories, depositions, requests for production and requests for admission. Litigation attorneys may also examine physical evidence and inspect the scene of the accident as well as collect, process and analyze information gathered during e-discovery. Litigation attorneys also draft and argue discovery-related motions including motions to compel, protective orders and summary judgment motions. The discovery process helps litigators gain relevant information, identify issues and formulate a case strategy.

In the weeks before trial, litigation attorneys wrap up discovery and prepare for trial. In the pre-trial stage, litigators consult with and advise clients; retain expert witnesses; attend pre-trial conferences and develop a trial strategy based on the facts and evidence. Litigation attorneys also conduct pre-trial depositions of experts and key witnesses; prepare demonstrative to be used as trial exhibits; and draft and argue pre-trial motions.

The majority of all lawsuits filed in civil court are settled prior to trial. In cases that proceed to trial, litigation attorneys are busy around the clock presenting their case before the judge or preparing for the next day in court. In the trial stage of litigation, litigators collaborate with experts and clients to craft a trial theme, identify strengths and weaknesses in a case; develop persuasive arguments; prepare witnesses for testimony and draft and argue trial motions.

At trial, litigation attorneys conduct voir dire, select a jury and present their case in court. Litigation attorneys present opening and closing statements, examine and cross-examine witnesses and craft a persuasive story for the fact-finder (judge or jury) through testimony and evidence. Litigation attorneys also prepare jury instructions and conduct post-trial interviews of the jury.

Most cases never reach trial but instead are settled in order to eliminate the risk and expense of trial. Litigation attorneys may settle a case at any time during the life cycle of the litigation.

At settlement, litigators engage in negotiations with opposing parties; participate in mediations and settlement conferences with the parties and the judge; and create settlement brochures, agreements, releases and other settlement materials.

If the litigation attorney does not obtain a favorable outcome at trial, he or she may appeal the case. Litigators draft post-trial motions; identify and preserve issues for appeal; develop appellate strategies; gather evidence for the appellate record; research procedural issues; draft appellate documents; and present oral arguments before appellate courts. If the case is particularly significant or complex, litigators may retain the assistance of attorneys who specialize in appellate practice.

So love your favorite litigator today... because where would you be without them?! Read a blog post from last fall about history's greatest lawyers here.

National Trail Mix Day

Next time you are standing in the grocery aisle, contemplating a healthier snack option, take a moment to ponder upon the timeless trail mix. Yup you read that right - timeless.  Why?  Well, with today being National Trail Mix day I decided to do a little investigation.  Come to find out, trail mix is thousands of years old. 

Ancient nomadic tribes used to mix up dried berries, fruits, nuts and meats together. It wasn't called Trail Mix then, but nevertheless it was just that.  Trail mix was (and is) high in energy, needs no specialized storage, and does not require cooking prior to consumption.

The history of trail mix and and gorp-type foods (nutritious, high-energy snacks composed variously of nuts, seeds, dried meats, dried fruits berries and candy) begins with the ancient nomads. These people were professionals at making easy to take on trips high-energy snacks that could handle any weather, that you didn't have to cook. Many different cultures would do this because it was the easiest way to keep storage of food for long periods of time.As time went on, so did the trail mix. Ancient travelers, explorers, pioneers, hunters, soldiers, hikers, scouts, even our very own cowboys, have enjoyed their own version of this easy to keep treat. Even today you will find various version of trail mix. 

Trail mix makes an easy snack for on the go people. It's easily customized to your tastes, and the recipe can be modified to include whatever you have on hand. The key to a successful trail mix is to vary flavors, including both sweet and salty, as well as textures, including both crunchy and soft.

Later, explorers continued the use of trail mixes, for the very same reasons, taking the high-energy food with them on their travails over many a trail, mountain or ocean. Native Americans had a special spin on trail mix, which they shared with those explorers they had good relations with. Their mix was called pemmican, and consisted of dried buffalo, moose or caribou, mixed with animal fat and berries, and lasted for months. Pieces were often broken off and used to make a stew, called rubbaboo, by adding flour, water, and maple sugar.

Despite this long, storied history, two separate companies, Harmony Foods and Hadley Fruit Orchards of California, state that the name “trail mix” was invented in 1968 by surfers who mixed together peanuts and raisins to keep their energy levels up during more “gnarly surf” periods. They hold to this statement despite trail mix is also mentioned in Jack Kerouac's 1958 novel The Dharma Bums as the two main characters describe their planned meals in their preparation for a hiking trip.

Trail mix is considered an ideal snack food for hikes, because it is tasty, lightweight, easy to store, and nutritious, providing a quick boost from the carbohydrates in the dried fruit and/or granola, and sustained energy from the mono- and polyunsaturated fats in nuts.

Today’s trail mix often includes fruit, grain cereals, nuts, flavorings, chocolate or carob, coconut, pretzels, and sometimes crystallized ginger. What is easy about Trail Mix is that it is portable.  It is easy to throw your favorite recipe into a ziplock bag and go.  Many local convienence stores also carry prepacked Trail Mix.  The drawback to these items are is that they often include candy, i.e. M & M's taking the place of carob.  Choose carefully and make it even better by making your own.

International Overdose Awareness Day

The Silver Badge is the global symbol to commemorate those who have lost their lives or are living with a permanent injury after suffering overdose.

International Overdose Awareness Day, observed August 31st each year, is a commemorative day for those who have died from drug overdose, or are living with a permanent injury after suffering from drug overdose. It is also a day dedicated to raising awareness about drug overdose from both licit and illicit drug use and aims to lower stigma attached to drug use. Ceremonies to honour those who have passed away after suffering overdose, or educational sessions about overdose are commonly held on the day. The events are recognized by the United Nations, the International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA) and International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)  The Salvation Army auspices the day which is acknowledged in a growing number of countries including the USA, Australia, Russia and Britain.

In world wide epidemiological studies carried out by the IHRA a global summary on drug overdose prevalence was unable to be collated. However, studies carried out in discreet jurisdictions show drug overdose to be a major cause of death. For example, in the USA a report published by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), drug overdose killed more than 33,000 people in 2005. In that particular year that made drug overdose the second leading cause of accidental death, behind only motor vehicle accidents (43,667) and ahead of firearms deaths (30,694). A 2008 report written for the Eurasia Harm Reduction Network (EHRN) and funded by the World Health Organization – summarizes the current situation with regard to overdose as being one of the leading causes of death among young people and the top cause of death among injection drug users – often exceeding deaths from AIDS-related illnesses (Coffin P., 2008)

International Overdose Awareness Day comes under the umbrella of Harm reduction programs which hope to decrease the harms associated with all drug use which includes overdose. The day proclaims that by improving ones knowledge ones ability to raise awareness and respond to drug harms will also improve. A 2009 You Tube film called Overdose Awareness Day was launched by the organizers of the day.

International Overdose Awareness Day originated in 2001 after a discussion between Sally J. Finn and Peter Streker. Sally was managing a needle and syringe program for The Salvation Army in St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia  at the time and Peter was co-ordinator of the Community and Health Development Program at the City of Port Phillip. They planned to hold a local event and give ribbons out for anyone who wished to commemorate a friend, partner or family member who had passed away. Any member of the community, even if not directly affected, could wear a ribbon to offer their condolences to those who had suffered overdose. On that first year 6,000 ribbons were distributed not only locally but throughout the state and further. The following year the steel badge was designed and requests for information and badges came from New Zealand as well as all over Australia. In 2008 the day was recognized by the UN, IHRA, EHRA and the IDPC.

Over the years many organizations including church groups and community-based programs have held events on the day and in the weeks leading up to the day. Prayer vigils and religious services have been held to remember people who have been lost as well as outdoor functions or non-denominational events such as tree plantings and banner signings. Government and non-government organisations such as hospitals, community health centers and user groups both in large cities such as Minneapolis, USA, Aligarh, India and Perth, Australia have held events to raise awareness and commemorate those who have been lost to drug overdose. Educational seminars are also held in schools and in drug and alcohol services world wide. Overdose Awareness Day targets the broader public through political rallies with additional involvement in lobbying governments for better health services and drug law reform that would assist drug users to stay as safe and as healthy as possible.

Pony Express Day

Pony Express Day celebrates those brave souls who made up the unique mail delivery system of the same name. Back in the days of the wild west, there was no Fed Ex, no Postal Service that ran that far west, no planes, and delivery by ship was likely to take months if it ever got there at all. Seeing this need for a specialized delivery service, Leavenworth and Pike’s Peak Express Company took an opportunity to expand into this void. From this important decision was born one of the most iconic pieces of American History, whose influence is felt in hundreds of Pony Express Day Festivals throughout the American Midwest.

The Pony Express existed for 18 months between the days of April 3, 1860 to October 1861. In these days there was no air mail, no great American Highway, all there was was hundreds of miles of wide open spaces with not much in between but animal filled wilderness and bandito filled hollows. During this time, if you wanted to send a letter or small package from anywhere East past the gateway of St. Joseph, Missouri, there was only one way to go. The Pony Express was a massive employer for it’s time, with up to 80 young riders employed at any given stage, with stringent requirements on their age, size, and weight.

The Pony Express preferred to employ the youngest riders they could, in part for their resilience, and in part for how light they were. The lighter a man was the longer the horse could run and the more cargo the rider could carry, and since the horses were put to go full tilt for 10 to 15 miles at a stretch before changing, this was of vital importance. The rider changed out every 75 to 100 miles, but the mail never so much as slowed even in the worst of weather. While the average trip from coast to coast (On Horseback!) took 10 days, when they delivered Lincoln’s Inaugural Address, the trip was made in a mere 7 days and 17 hours.

With Pony Express Day Festivals being a staple all throughout the United States, there are tons of opportunities to celebrate the bravery of these young mailmen. You can spend Postal Express Day dressed up as one of these adventurous young souls who served as the heart of America’s fast tracked postal line, while watching equestrian events commemorating the challenges they faced. Speaking of equestrian events, lets not forget the true heroes of this endeavor, the horses that carried men and post across the nation time and time again. These events often have a broad range of related events, including food related events. Chili was one of the staples of the old American West, and as you might imagine there was often a pot of this spicy staple bubbling to keep the riders fed as they came in and out with the packages.

If you find yourself without a local event, you can host one at your home. Make Chili and Cornbread, find logos and the like to print out online, and get the 1953 movie ‘Pony Express’ featuring Charleston Heston and Rhonda Fleming! This is a classic about this amazing American institution and the trials and efforts of the men and women who fought to make it a reality. So get together with your friends and family on Pony Express Day, and celebrate the Pioneer spirit of the Old West!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Holidays and Observances for August 30 2014

Franchise Appreciation Day

Franchise Appreciation Day is an initiative to help create an awareness to increase customers knowledge of the importance of using social media networks and location-based services to connect with, and continue to support local franchises. It's also a day to celebrate franchises and allow you the consumer to enjoy a day in support of your favorite franchises by receiving Discounts and Giveaways.

A franchise is a right granted to an individual or group to market a company's goods or services within a certain territory or location. Some examples of today's popular franchises are McDonald's, Subway, Domino's Pizza, Golden Krust Bakery and the UPS Store.

There are many different types of franchises. There are over 120 different types of franchise businesses available today, including automotive, cleaning & maintenance, health & fitness, financial services, and pet-related franchises, just to name a few.

A franchisee is an individual who purchases the rights to use a company's trademarked name and business model to do business. The franchisee purchases a franchise from the franchisor. The franchisee must follow certain rules and guidelines already established by the franchisor, and in most cases the franchisee must pay an ongoing franchise royalty fee to the franchisor.
What are the Franchises Facts?
  • The number of jobs filled within and because of franchised businesses (17,430,700)
  • The number of franchise establishments (over 828,138)
  • Direct and indirect economic impact of franchised businesses; ($2.1 trillion)
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of franchised businesses ($1.2 trillion)
  • Franchised businesses account for nearly 50% of all retail sales in the United States.
  • Franchised businesses supplied an annual payroll of $304.4 billion, or 4.2 percent of all private non-farm payrolls in the United States in 2007! 
Frankenstein Day

Frankenstein Day is celebrated on August 30th of each year to commemorate the birth of Mary Shelley, author of the novel Frankenstein.

Mary Shelley (née Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin; 30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) was an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin, and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

Mary Godwin’s mother died when she was eleven days old; afterwards, she and her older half-sister, Fanny Imlay, were raised by her father. When Mary was four, Godwin married his neighbour, Mary Jane Clairmont. Godwin provided his daughter with a rich, if informal, education, encouraging her to adhere to his liberal political theories. In 1814, Mary Godwin began a romantic relationship with one of her father’s political followers, the married Percy Bysshe Shelley. Together with Mary’s stepsister, Claire Clairmont, they left for France and travelled through Europe; upon their return to England, Mary was pregnant with Percy’s child. Over the next two years, she and Percy faced ostracism, constant debt, and the death of their prematurely born daughter. They married in late 1816 after the suicide of Percy Shelley’s first wife, Harriet.

In 1816, the couple famously spent a summer with Lord Byron, John William Polidori, and Claire Clairmont near Geneva, Switzerland, where Mary conceived the idea for her novel Frankenstein. The Shelleys left Britain in 1818 for Italy, where their second and third children died before Mary Shelley gave birth to her last and only surviving child, Percy Florence. In 1822, her husband drowned when his sailing boat sank during a storm in the Bay of La Spezia. A year later, Mary Shelley returned to England and from then on devoted herself to the upbringing of her son and a career as a professional author. The last decade of her life was dogged by illness, probably caused by the brain tumour that was to kill her at the age of 53.

Until the 1970s, Mary Shelley was known mainly for her efforts to publish Percy Shelley’s works and for her novel Frankenstein, which remains widely read and has inspired many theatrical and film adaptations. Recent scholarship has yielded a more comprehensive view of Mary Shelley’s achievements. Scholars have shown increasing interest in her literary output, particularly in her novels, which include the historical novels Valperga (1823) and Perkin Warbeck (1830), the apocalyptic novel The Last Man (1826), and her final two novels, Lodore (1835) and Falkner (1837). Studies of her lesser-known works such as the travel book Rambles in Germany and Italy (1844) and the biographical articles for Dionysius Lardner’s Cabinet Cyclopaedia (1829–46) support the growing view that Mary Shelley remained a political radical throughout her life. Mary Shelley’s works often argue that cooperation and sympathy, particularly as practised by women in the family, were the ways to reform civil society. This view was a direct challenge to the individualistic Romantic ethos promoted by Percy Shelley and the Enlightenment political theories articulated by her father, William Godwin.

International Bacon Day

International Bacon Day, or simply ‘Bacon Day’ as it is called, is a popular observance in the United States. Though it is not an official one, people nevertheless enjoy the day with lots of enthusiasm and fun! Depending on the country where it is being observed, it is observed either on the first Saturday after New Year, on February 19th or on the Saturday before Labor Day, which is generally the first Monday of September.

If we look back to the origin of the day, we are to go back to 2000 where the day was first conceived in Bedford, Massachusetts by the people of Crag. However, there runs another story that the day came into being in 2004 when a group of graduate students from Colorado came up with the idea of honoring the much loved piece of meat. In Manchester, UK, the day is observed by the students as a much needed break from the monotonous revisions for the January exams. The students at Bucknell have their own way of celebrating the day. They call themselves ‘Meatheads’ for the day and eat only bacons on the International Bacon Day. Fun-filled games and bacon-eating competitions are held as a part of the day’s activity.

The main motto of the day is to love your bacon and appreciate it in every way possible! The celebrations typically include social gatherings with family and friends, preparing and consuming dishes made of bacon – all breakfasts, lunches and dinners made with bacon! Some people even go to the extent of making desserts with bacon and preparing bacon infused drinks! The main motto is to go out of the way to honor the pork with your near and dear ones. For people who are not so fond of pork, there are the soy bacons and turkey bacons too.

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances

Enforced disappearance has frequently been used as a strategy to spread terror within the society. The feeling of insecurity generated by this practice is not limited to the close relatives of the disappeared, but also affects their communities and society as a whole.

Enforced disappearance has become a global problem and is not restricted to a specific region of the world. Once largely the product of military dictatorships, enforced disappearances can nowadays be perpetrated in complex situations of internal conflict, especially as a means of political repression of opponents. Of particular concern are:
  • the ongoing harassment of human rights defenders, relatives of victims, witnesses and legal counsel dealing with cases of enforced disappearance;
  • the use by States of counter-terrorist activities as an excuse for breaching their obligations;
  • and the still widespread impunity for enforced disappearance.
Special attention must also be paid to specific groups of especially vulnerable people, like children and people with disabilities.

On 21 December 2010, by its resolution 65/209 the UN General Assembly expressed its deep concern, in particular, by the increase in enforced or involuntary disappearances in various regions of the world, including arrest, detention and abduction, when these are part of or amount to enforced disappearances, and by the growing number of reports concerning harassment, ill-treatment and intimidation of witnesses of disappearances or relatives of persons who have disappeared.

By the same resolution the Assembly welcomed the adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and decided to declare 30 August the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, to be observed beginning in 2011.

International Whale Shark Day

The bunnies have got Easter sewn up and Christmas is all about Rudolph, so it’s only fair that everyone’s favourite fish, the whale shark, gets a bite at the cherry.

Started in 2012, International Whale Shark Day celebrates these gentle giants. Growing up to 14 metres long and 12 tons heavy, whale sharks have a face only a mother could love: no whale shark will ever win a beauty contest, so it’s right they’re made to feel special one day a year. However, there’s a serious purpose to the day, which aims to raise awareness of how this animal has been hunted to vulnerability for its highly prized fins and meat.

As the largest fish in the sea, reaching lengths of 40 feet (12 meters) or more, whale sharks have an enormous menu from which to choose. Fortunately for most sea-dwellers—and us!—their favorite meal is plankton. They scoop these tiny plants and animals up, along with any small fish that happen to be around, with their colossal gaping mouths while swimming close to the water's surface.

The whale shark, like the world's second largest fish, the basking shark, is a filter feeder. In order to eat, the beast juts out its formidably sized jaws and passively filters everything in its path.  The mechanism is theorized to be a technique called “cross-flow filtration,” similar to some bony fish and baleen whales.

The whale shark's flattened head sports a blunt snout above its mouth with short barbels protruding from its nostrils. Its back and sides are gray to brown with white spots among pale vertical and horizontal stripes, and its belly is white. Its two dorsal fins are set rearward on its body, which ends in a large dual-lobbed caudal fin (or tail).

Preferring warm waters, whale sharks populate all tropical seas. They are known to migrate every spring to the continental shelf of the central west coast of Australia. The coral spawning of the area's Ningaloo Reef provides the whale shark with an abundant supply of plankton.

Although massive, whale sharks are docile fish and sometimes allow swimmers to hitch a ride. They are currently listed as a vulnerable species; however, they continue to be hunted in parts of Asia, such as the Philippines.

So, why not show a little solidarity on International Whale Shark Day and celebrate our finned friends? Go coastal and try and glimpse a whale or perhaps bake a (fish)cake. Whatever you do, just don’t watch Jaws.

National Holistic Pet Day

This August 30th you have the chance to change your pet’s life just by celebrating Holistic Pet Day. The goal of this special day is to highlight the importance of whole pet health instead of singular systems or problems. Holistic pet health can help improve nutrition, increase energy and remedy lingering ailments.
National Holistic Pet Day was founded by Colleen Paige of Animal Miracle Network. She is considered to be one of America's premier family and pet lifestyle experts. She has also founded such holidays as National Dog Day, National Cat Day, National Kids & Pets Day, and several others. Ms. Paige has said of National Holistic Pet Day, “I want people to understand that with the already short life spans our pets have, they need a fighting chance these days to live as long as they were meant to. Pet owners really need to start looking at their pet’s diet, lifestyle and environment. I want to ensure that I have done my best to bring about public awareness of the need for a healthy lifestyle with our pets. I don’t blame myself for Tinkerbelle’s death, but now that she has died from cancer – I know I could have done better. I don’t want anyone else to have to feel how I feel…wondering if I could have prevented it.”

You play a very important role in the health of your dog. Its food, amount of exercise and mental stimulation lead to excellent health and well-being, affecting your dog's physical, behavioral and emotional health. Holistic Pet Day is a chance to help improve your pet's quality of life by strengthening each of the following:
Nutrition is one of the most important aspects of holistic pet care. A diet of natural and organic food is has numerous health benefits such boosting your pet’s immune system, which is an easy way to prevent diseases and other health problems. Try not to feed your dog food that is difficult to digest. Our dogs’ digestive systems aren’t mean to deal with many of the preservatives and chemicals found in cheap pet food. Good quality, natural dog food also helps our dogs fight allergies, intestinal problems, obesity, diabetes and other food-related diseases.

Water is the most important nutrient for long, healthy life. Dogs need plenty of fresh water that isn't potentially contaminated with fluoride, chlorine and other chemicals. Keep your dog's water safe by using filtered water, never reusing plastic water bottles to fill their water bowls, and using stainless steel dog bowls instead of plastic.

One of the best ways to keep your dog healthy in body is to give it plenty of exercise. It helps keep your dog physically fit, aids weight loss, lowers cholesterol levels, decreases diabetes risk, lessens the risk of heart disease, helps with anxiety and helps fight certain cancers. Exercise also helps your dog behave too; you know the saying that a tired dog is a good dog.

It doesn’t take much to get your dog moving around and exercising. Go for plenty of walks or maybe a run. How about a fun game of fetch? Dogs love to chase down their favorite ball or toy. Another added benefit of exercising your dog is that you get plenty of exercise and in turn help improve your own health. It’s a win-win situation!

Use only natural grooming products when giving your dog a bath. This includes items with natural oils and extracts instead of synthetic chemicals which can leave harmful residues and strip away your pet’s natural oils.

While keeping your dog physically active is important so is keeping it mentally stimulated. It keeps him or her happy and well-balanced. There are all sorts of different and fun ways to get your dog's brain cells firing. Some dog toys are specifically designed to challenge your dog to solve a puzzle for a treat. Hide treats in different areas of your home or apartment and have your dog search them out using its sense of smell. Try taking an alternative route when going for a walk. Your dog will love the new smells, sounds and sights! Have your dog interact with others dogs with a trip to the local doggie park.

The overall goal of Holistic Pet Day is to help improve your dog’s quality of life. It’s a wonderful opportunity to keep your dog happy and healthy in all aspects of its life. Remember to follow the tips you learned on Holistic Pet Day everyday for a long-lasting and happy relationship with your pet.

National Toasted Marshmallow Day

Fall is just around the corner, and with it comes cooler weather. Don’t be disheartened by the dropping temperatures; instead, light the hearth, stoke the outdoor fire pit or wait a while before putting the grill in the garage. Toasted marshmallows are the ultimate way to usher in the cooler season.

Marshmallows have a pretty interesting history. The althea officinalis, or marshmallow plant, was initially used for its healing properties (Althainein in Greek means "to heal"). The root of this native African plant also produces a sticky white substance which the Egyptians combined with honey to make candy.

Not surprisingly, in the mid-19th century, the French turned the treat into the fluffy puff we know today as a marshmallow. They combined egg whites, water, sugar and the marshmallow root and then molded the mixture into individual candies. They were also dusted with corn starch to prevent them from sticking to everything. Over time, the marshmallow root has been replaced with gelatin, but the basic homemade recipe remains the same.

Marshmallows are pretty easy to make, but you will need a candy thermometer and an electric mixer or beater. You can use them in all sorts of ways: in cocoa, for puffed rice treats or for dipping in chocolate or caramel.

Toasted marshmallows are probably best known for their starring roles in sweet potato casserole (a Southern staple at Thanksgiving) and s’mores. The technique you use for toasting is very personal. Some prefer the rotisserie method, gently turning their mallow until it’s evenly browned. Others jump right in and engulf the puff in flames. Whatever your preferred technique, there’s something very satisfying about enjoying this treat outdoors before the cold really sets in.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Holidays and Observances for August 29 2014

"According to Hoyle" Day

"According to Hoyle" Day is a day to honor Edmond Hoyle. In 1741 he instructed people how to play the game of whist, a 18th and 19th century card game. Needing a standard set of rules for the game he wrote A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist. He was encouraged to publish it since it was so well received by his students. He published several versions of the book adding rules for other games such as chess and backgammon. The phrase "according to Hoyle" was used to describe the correct rules or procedures in any activity or game.

Edmond Hoyle (1672 – 29 August 1769) was a writer best known for his works on the rules and play of card games. The phrase "according to Hoyle" came into the language as a reflection of his generally perceived authority on the subject; since that time, use of the phrase has expanded into general use in situations in which a speaker wishes to indicate an appeal to a putative authority.

National Whiskey Sour Day

Raise your glass and pour yourself a strong one - August 29 is National Whiskey Sour Day.

Don't get your mouth all twisted up at the idea of this sweet and sour quaff. Splash some bourbon, lemon juice and sugar together and shake or serve it straight.

The mixed drink supposedly traces its spirits back to an English steward on a sailing ship. As a closet bartender, he was constantly experimenting with shaking and stirring things up. Whiskey met a sour dose of lime and a balancing contrast of sugar and the "sour" was born.

The oldest historical mention of a whisky sour prepared in the world comes from a newspaper published in Wisconsin in 1870.

In 1962, the Universidad del Cuyo published a story which cited a Peruvian newspaper called El Comercio de Iquique as indicating that Elliott Stubb created the "whisky sour" in 1872. El Comercio de Iquique was published by Modesto Molina between 1874 and 1879.

So shake it up, baby. Add a lemon wedge or maraschino cherry to your whiskey sour and knock back some happiness. This is one drink that won't make you sour.

National Chop Suey Day

Pass the chopsticks - August 29 is National Chop Suey Day!

Chop suey is one of those dishes with a history that needs to be taken with a grain of salt. While most have settled on the version that ties its origin to Toisan, a region in China from where many immigrants to American came from, there are some more colorful options.

Chop suey is widely believed to have been invented in America by Chinese Americans, but the anthropologist E.N. Anderson concludes that the dish is based on tsap seui (“miscellaneous leftovers”), common in Taishan (Toisan), a county in Guangdong Province (Canton), the home of many early Chinese immigrants to the U.S. This "became the infamous ‘chop suey’ of third-string Chinese restaurants in the western world, but it began life as a good if humble dish among the specialist vegetable farmers of the area. At the end of the day, they would stir-fry the small shoots, thinnings, and unsold vegetables—up to ten species in a dish!" The Hong Kong doctor Li Shu-fan likewise reported that he knew it in Toisan in the 1890s.

The long list of colorful and conflicting stories about the origin of chop suey is, in the words of the food historian Alan Davidson, “a prime example of culinary mythology” and typical of popular foods.

One account claims that it was invented by Chinese American cooks working on the transcontinental railroad in the 19th century. Another tale is that it was created during Qing Dynasty premier Li Hongzhang's visit to the United States in 1896 by his chef, who tried to create a meal suitable for both Chinese and American palates. Another story is that Li wandered to a local Chinese restaurant after the hotel kitchen had closed, where the chef, embarrassed that he had nothing ready to offer, came up with the new dish using scraps of leftovers. Yet recent research by the scholar Renqui Yu led him to conclude that "no evidence can be found in available historical records to support the story that Li Hung Chang ate chop suey in the United States." Li brought three Chinese chefs with him, and would not have needed to eat in local restaurants or invent new dishes in any case. Yu speculates that shrewd Chinese American restaurant owners took advantage of the publicity surrounding his visit to promote chop suey as Li's favorite.

Yet another myth is that, in the 1860s, a Chinese restaurant cook in San Francisco was forced to serve something to drunken miners after hours, when he had no fresh food. To avoid a beating, the cook threw leftovers in a wok and served the miners who loved it and asked what dish is this—he replied Chopped Sui. There is no good evidence for any of these stories.

Chop suey appears in an 1884 article in the Brooklyn Eagle, by Wong Chin Foo, "Chinese Cooking," which he says "may justly be called the "national dish of China."  An 1888 description calls it "A staple dish for the Chinese gourmand is chow chop svey, a mixture of chickens' livers and gizzards, fungi, bamboo buds, pigs' tripe, and bean sprouts stewed with spices."In 1898, it is described as "A Hash of Pork, with Celery, Onions, Bean Sprouts, etc."

During his travels in the United States, Liang Qichao, a Guangdong (Canton) native, wrote in 1903 that there existed in the United States a food item called chop suey which was popularly served by Chinese restaurateurs, but which local Chinese people did not eat.

In earlier periods of Chinese history, "chop suey" or "shap sui" in Cantonese, and "za sui", in Mandarin, has the different meaning of cooked animal offal or entrails. For example, in the classic novel Journey to the West (circa 1590), Sun Wukong tells a lion-monster in chapter 75: "When I passed through Guangzhou, I bought a pot for cooking za sui – so I'll savour your liver, entrails, and lungs." This may be the same as the "Chop Suey Kiang" found in 1898 New York. The term "za sui" is found in newer Chinese-English dictionaries with both meanings listed: cooked entrails, and chop suey in the Western sense.
Regardless of the origin, the simple dish can now be found in most Chinese restaurants.

"Most Americans know it's not real Chinese food. A handful of them don't care," writes Jennifer 8. Lee in her book The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food. "Yet it still endures."

Chop suey primarily consists of stir-fried vegetables, meat and eggs with a starchy sauce served over rice or noodles. Translated, chop suey means "mixed bits."

The dish is relatively easy to put together, and can be altered for dietary and taste preferences. So, how will you take yours?

International Day Against Nuclear Tests

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day against Nuclear Tests brings public awareness and education about the effects of global nuclear weapon tests. The day aims to end nuclear testing and to promote peace and security.

The International Day against Nuclear Tests aims to raise people’s awareness on the need to prevent nuclear catastrophes to avert devastating effects on humankind, the environment and the planet. Many people use the day as an opportunity to share their perspective on the issue of nuclear weapons and testing.  Different organizations may host educational and public activities to bring awareness of the use of nuclear weapons and the dangers involved with nuclear weapons testing and usage.

The history of nuclear testing began on July 16, 1945, when an atomic bomb was used at a desert test site in Alamogordo, New Mexico, in the United States. More than 2000 nuclear tests were carried out worldwide between 1945 and 1996. Nuclear weapons tests are generally broken into different categories reflecting the test’s medium or location:
  • Atmospheric tests.
  • Underwater tests.
  • Underground tests.
Over the years, there have been calls to ban nuclear test to ensure the protection of people’s lives and the environment around them. The UN approved a draft resolution in late 2009 for an international day against nuclear tests to raise public awareness about the threats and dangers of nuclear weapons.  It was also hoped that UN’s member states would move towards the idea of nuclear disarmament.

The International Day against Nuclear Tests was declared to be annually held on August 29, which marks the closing of one of the world’s largest nuclear test sites (in Kazakhstan) in 1991. The day is devoted to enhancing public awareness and education about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions. It also promotes the need for a nuclear weapon-free world. The day’s first official observance was marked for August 29, 2010.

National Lemon Juice Day

According to a website that charts national day, here's a day to celebrate. August 29 is National Lemon Juice Day.

Lemon juice and its uses
The juice of the lemon is about 5% to 6% citric acid, which gives lemons a sour taste. The distinctive sour taste of lemon juice makes it a key ingredient in drinks and foods such as lemonade.

Almost all foods taste even better with a little lemon juice squeezed on top of it. Such foods include fish, chicken, and gravy. Of course, almost everyone knows lemon juice is good in iced tea. It is even good in just plain water.

Unlike salt, butter, or other seasonings that can make good foods bad for you, lemon juice won't do you any harm. In fact, it might even help you lose weight.

A lot of people have lemon juice in a hot cup of water as soon as they get out of bed in the morning. The benefits of the lemon juice last throughout the day.

10 Reasons Lemon Juice Is Good For You
Saying that lemons are a superfood is an understatement. Not only do they add abundant flavor to a variety of dishes, but they also boast a ton of health benefits. The flavonoids within the juice are said to contain antioxidants, which is why lemons are useful in treating so many ailments and conditions. Here are 10 reasons to enjoy them ASAP.
  1. Prevent kidney stones: Drinking one half-cup of lemon juice every day raises citrate levels in the urine. Studies have shown that this could protect against calcium stones in the kidney.
  2. Soothe a sore throat: Mixing lemon juice with honey can help alleviate the discomfort that comes from a nasty sore throat.
  3. Support weight loss: Beyond the old notion that the Master Cleanse was the only way lemons could help you lose weight, new studies have shown the ways lemon juice supports your goals. Lemon juice contains pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to aid in weight-loss struggles.
  4. Start your day right: Leave caffeinated drinks behind, and start your day off with hot water and fresh lemon juice to stimulate your digestive track and add vitamin C.
  5. Stop an itch: When it comes to poison ivy or insect bites, rubbing lemon juice on the area can soothe the skin, since it has anti-inflammatory and anesthetic effects.
  6. Aids in digestion: Dr. Oz is a big believer in the power of lemon juice for weight loss. He suggests drinking a mixture of lemon juice and flaxseeds in order to eliminate waste more quickly from your body.
  7. Anticancer properties: Studies have supported the anticancer activity of citrus liminoids, compounds that protect your cells from damage that can lead to the formation of cancer cells.
  8. Potassium power: Bananas aren't the only way to get a big helping of potassium in your system. In addition to vitamin C, lemons offer 80 milligrams of this mineral that helps your body stay strong and nimble.
  9. Bring down a fever: Forget the days of starving a fever! When your temperature goes up, drinking a lemon juice mixture can help bring your fever down faster.
  10. Balance pH: While lemons may seem quite acidic, they're a surprisingly good source of an alkaline food that can help balance your body's pH.

More Herbs, Less Salt Day

More Herbs, Less Salt Day takes place on 29th August each year.  The aim of More Herbs, Less Salt Day is to promote the use of healthy herbs as seasoning instead of salt.

Late in the month of August is actually a very good time for a day such as More Herbs, Less Salt Day, for the simple reason that this is a time when the harvesting of herbs from the garden is reaching its annual peak.  After all, there are few things in this world that are better than being able to garnish your all-time favorite recipes with fresh garden herbs.

More Herbs, Less Salt Day was the brainchild of, which has actually created and copyrighted a whole range of other special days throughout the yearly calendar as well.  Perhaps oddly, has not given much in the way of information about the day, other than to take note of the fact that herbs are much better for your overall health than is the case with salt, which is certainly true enough.

Of course, perhaps simply did not see the need to give too much other information about More Herbs, Less Salt Day given that it more or less effectively speaks for itself.  All you need to take part in More Herbs, Less Salt Day are some herbs, a fun and tasty recipe, a desire for a healthier diet, and perhaps just a dash of imagination as well.

College Colors Day

Across the United States, on the first Friday of each college school year, students, parents, family, fans, alumni and etc celebrate College Colors Day.  This day is annually celebrated by wearing your college’s (or the college you support) favorite colors and college/university apparel.

College Colors Day is a fundraising event coordinated at a national level that allows participating organizations to show their support the first Friday of the college football season.

We are inviting you to join the Uplifting Athletes team and participate on Friday, August 29 to show off your school spirit and raise funds and awareness for rare diseases.

Individual Rights Day

In honor of John Locke, whose philosophical writings argued for the rights of each single human being, Individual Rights Day is celebrated on August 29th, the date of Locke’s birth. According to Locke, “Anything that a man has as a matter of human rights or civil rights is to remain inviolably his,” and although Locke conceded that humans surrendered some natural rights in exchange for the collective protection afforded by societies, he held that basic individual rights include life, liberty, property, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom to petition government.

Individual Rights Day was initiated by the founder of the Objectivist Party, Dr. Tom Stevens, who supports John Locke’s philosophies regarding the rights of society’s smallest minority and basic unit – the individual. Celebrations of Individual Rights Day include reading about John Locke and his views, reviewing your country’s commitment to the protection of rights and appreciating the value of freedom and the sacrosanct nature of individual rights.

International Bat Night

International Bat Night - Bats live in a forest near where I live and I'll sometimes see them flapping past the window.  It's pretty cool!

EUROBATS is back to organize the seventeenth International Bat Night as darkness falls between the 29th and 31st of August 2014.

Over 30 countries celebrate bats on International Bat Night - from Belgium and Sweden to the UK!   In Worcestershire, you'll be taken a walk in the dark to learn about our 'enigmatic' friends.

Why don't you organize your own International Bat Night event?   To receive posters to promote the event, email EUROBATS at:

It's well know that bats can be seen as a bit scary!   This probably comes from the fact a lot of vampire movies have made bats out to be blood-sucking and terrifying!

And while it's true that they do drink insects' blood they don't come near ours!  Yet the scare stories are endangering our flying friends.   If bats were to become extinct we'd be in big trouble - there would be insects everywhere!

Although bats have been used for good symbolism too.  Take Batman for instance!  The superhero that protects the city of Gotham in movies like The Dark Knight.

But how much do you know about real bats?   Did you know that they pollinate lots of plants?  Like bees, bats are essential pollinators for the growth of our natural world.   In fact there are nectar-feeding bats!   They help disperse seeds - and are really good for the economy too!

The bat conservation international organisation knows just how important it is to help our bats.  And recognize how special they are too!   Did you know that some males sing when trying to attract a female?  Or that vampire bats adopt orphans?  Unusual for any animal, never mind a supposedly scary bat!

I had heard of a few bat species, for example, the Common pipistrelle, Daubenton's bat and the Greater horseshoe bat, but I didn't realize that in the UK we have 18 species of bats - wow!   There's lots of information about bat species in the UK at the Bat Conservation Trust website, and what's more you can even listen to them as well!

If you are planning a bat event why not post the details on the events page so that everyone knows what you are doing.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Holidays and Observances for August 28 2014

Crackers Over The Keyboard Day

Shut down your computers, turn your keyboard upside down and give it a few good shakes. Now check to see what fell out. Those little crumbs there, those are the remnants of months of cracker snacks and office potlucks.

Now go wish your co-workers a happy Crackers Over the Keyboard Day.

Kind of makes you wonder who comes up with these wacky holidays. In this case — and in many, many others — 80 at last count — it’s the husband and wife team of Tom and Ruth Roy. He’s an occasional actor and radio talk show host. She’s been a college administrator, touring actress, and now the proprietor of a mail-order herb business, You’ll also find a list of their zany and copyrighted holidays there.

About that little pile of keyboard debris on your desk. Besides those crumbs, which today’s holiday encourages you to sprinkle over your keyboard rather than clean out, the detritus includes loose hairs, paper particles, office dust, and maybe an errant staple.

Harmless? Yes, for the most part. Though eating or drinking on, over or around any electronic device they maintain will give the IT techs palpitations.

Biologically however, our keyboard may be more of a nature preserve for germs than the office toilet. The latter, at least, gets a nightly once-over from the cleaning crew. Your keyboard may never have been cleaned, making it a breeding ground for all sorts of bugs. A study by a University of Arizona biologist found computer keyboards contained more germs per square inch than did toilet seats in the same office; 67 times as many!

That’s not a reason to call out the hazmat unit. Most of the germs are, well, germs that are everywhere and to which we all have some degree of immunity, especially since those on your keyboard come mostly from you. As microbiologist Dr Peter Wilson told the BBC when a study in the U.K. turned up results similar to the Arizona study: “If you look at what grows on computer keyboards, believe it or not, it’s more or less a reflection of what’s in your nose and in your gut.”

But it is gross to consider that most of us will tap on that electronic petri dish, then with those same fingers, pick up a sandwich and take a bite.

If today’s celebration of Crackers Over the Keyboard Day has prompted you to do the crackers out of the keyboard shake, and now you want to do a thorough summer cleaning, you’ll need some rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs. Step-by-step directions are here.Enjoy the day!

Race Your Mouse Around the Icons Day

It’s almost unresistable – when your computer is slow to load, and when you’re waiting for something to happen, you can’t resist the urge to play with the mouse and the cursor.

Whether you’re procrastinating, plain bored or it’s actually one of your favourite sporting activities (if so, you should probably re-evaluate a few things… just saying), then this day is your day to go nuts.

Race Your Mouse Around The Icons Day embraces this, and encourages you to go crazy with your cursor!

Race Your Mouse Day is a copyrighted holiday. It was created and is provided, courtesy of the great folks at

You're getting bored while that program takes forever to do its thing. Grab the mouse, and start chasing the icons. It's even an officially sanctioned pastime with its own celebratory day – Race Around the Icons Day! So it's time to stop staring vapidly at the screen and start a little mousing.

1) Prepare your mouse.
  • Give your mouse a good clean. If you don't know how yet, read wikiHow's article on how to clean a mouse.
  • Clean the mousepad too while you're at it.
  • Check your mouse cursor. Still happy with it? Or is this a good opportunity for an upgrade to something a little funkier?
2) Find something that needs doing on your computer. Use this as a good opportunity to do some application or program updating that you've been putting off because you can't stand just staring at the screen while it happens. Get it rolling.
  • Really slow-to-load web pages are also a good choice. Try any webpage aimed at providing you with answers about why your taxation refund hasn't arrived still.
  • Note, it needs to be something that allows you to a) see your desktop; and b) still move your mouse. If this isn't possible, lose the program sprucing and just start mousing.
3) Race around the desktop nabbing icons with your mouse. If you're not sure that going around in circles, or squares, or whatever shape you're tracing over your icons with the mouse cursor is fulfilling enough for you, try to smarten up the experience with a few added hurdles:
  • Try following patterns, such as skipping some icons but not others. Or try to trace out the shapes of animals, food, favorite computer symbols using the icons positioned as they are.
  • Use mathematical formulas to work out which icons to touch and not touch on.
  • Randomly click on an unused icon now and then. Once it opens, have the mouse chase around anything of interest on the opened item, then click close again and return to desktop mousing.
  • Alternatively, take a penalty for every accidentally opened icon or drop-down box.
  • Think up any other amusing ways to prolong your procrastination.
4) Feel peppy. Apparently that is a standard requirement following chasing your icons. Peppy means "full of energy, high spirits, and lively". Possibly you might need some other boost to help you reach this state. Some suggestions include:
  • Healthy snacks at the desk
  • Slightly less but definitely delicious chocolate snack stash at the desk
  • Caffeine - coffee, chocolate, tea, whatever way you like it most.
5) Focus on the rest of your day. You can always resume chasing the icons around with your mouse whenever the desire takes you.

  • If you don't have a mouse pad, and you're really out of ideas for doing something, how about making a mouse pad? And while you're at it, how about building your own mouse too?!
  • This is a handy method for looking like you're doing something productive, when clearly, you're not.
  • This can be even more fun if you're stuck on an old clunker with a black and white background. Use it as a good excuse to get the old Mac out for a play.
  • If you're doing this on the official day for racing a mouse around the icons, why not send someone an invitation to race their mouse around the icons? Spread the word that it's Race Your Mouse Around the Icons Day (August 28 each year). There are sites with special e-cards for you to personalize and send - just do an online search and they'll pop up. With any luck, you might encourage your coworkers and friends to get into a peppy enough state to keep playing online games all day. Just be sure not to let the boss in on your secret.
For more procrastination of a similar vein, try seeing how fast you can type out the alphabet on your keyboard, first conventionally and then backwards. Time wasting = achieved.

National Bow Tie Day

The bow tie set the new fashion style of necktie in the early 17th century. French soldiers brought the cravat back to France following the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). They elevated the design from Croatian soldiers that used this necktie to keep the collars of their shirts together.

In 1886, tobacco magnate, Pierre Lorillard wore a bow tie with his new style of formal wear to the Tuxedo Club. The tuxedo and black bow tie, called black tie attire, became an instant hit among wealthy fashion enthusiasts.

The bow tie has been worn by great American bow tie connoisseurs such as Sinatra and Martin, Jerry Lewis, Humphrey Bogart, Orville Redenbacher, Colonel Sanders, Barney Fife, Charlie Chaplin, Pee-wee Herman and Bill Nye-the Science Guy. The bow tie has found itself as a compliment to many design styles.

Marlene Dietrich donned a bow tie and top hat in her 1930s film “Morocco.” The bow tie is for those that have an eclectic style of wardrobe, like notables Janelle Monae, Rihanna, and Drew Barrymore.

The bow tie has been revamped to tie into the wardrobe of the fashionably astute. It is an accessory that has withstood the test of time. Every person that incorporates a bow tie into their wardrobe has a special attachment to every piece of clothing that they own. No longer just constructed of black silk, the bow tie comes in a plethora of colors and fabrics to suite an individual’s unique taste.

History may be a boring subject but when mixed with fashion, it’s worth your full attention. The bow tie dates back in the 17th century back in Croatia. Here mercenaries would use neck wears that somehow resembled scarves to bind the collars of their shirts. These neck wears were called the cravats. In no time they were adapted the Upper Class French citizens who had the reputation of being highly influential in the fashion world at that time. The cravats evolved into today’s neck wear; the bow ties and neckties.

In the beginning of the century, the bow tie was a vital component of a full attire. This changed in the 1900s when it became common among surgeons and men in the academic arena. In as much as it became less fashionable following the end of the Second World War, it still makes up an essential part in men’s formal wear in today’s world.

Let’s take a flash forward to the future. You will envision a world where this neck accessory has adapted a more relaxed kind of look. Over the recent years, this accessory has regained lots of recognition among men who can be termed as fashionable and also among women. It is quite common these days to see a woman adorned in men’s attire such as a tuxedo, complete with a bow tie to boot. Bow ties have now found their way into cocktail parties, the workplace and casual activities. Men are incorporating them into almost any outfit they see fit.

National Cherry Turnovers Day

It’s National Cherry Turnover Day! Turnovers are a delicious pastry that can be enjoyed for breakfast or dessert. They originated in ancient times and are classified as "portable pies." Other dishes in this culinary family include pasties, empanadas, and spring rolls.

A traditional cherry turnover recipe calls for puff pastry, which is stuffed with a gooey cherry filling and then baked until golden brown. There are many variations on this classic treat though. Some recipes call for cream cheese, extra lemon juice, or even ice cream.

A turnover is a type of pastry made by placing a filling on a piece of dough, folding the dough over, and sealing it. Turnovers can be sweet or savory and are often made as a sort of portable meal or dessert, similar to a sandwich. They can be eaten as a breakfast or a dessert.

It is common for sweet turnovers to have a fruit filling and be made with a shortcrust pastry or puff pastry dough; savory turnovers generally contain meat and/or vegetables and can be made with any sort of dough, though a kneaded yeast dough seems to be the most common in Western cuisines. They are usually baked, but may be fried.

Savory turnovers are often sold as convenience foods in supermarkets. Savory turnovers with meat or poultry and identified as a turnover in the United States (for example, "Beef Turnover" or "Cheesy Chicken Turnover") have to meet a standard of identity or composition and should contain a certain amount of meat or poultry meat.

In Ireland, a turnover is a particular type of white bread, commonly found in Dublin.

To celebrate National Cherry Turnover Day, bake your own homemade cherry turnovers to share with friends and family! Bon appétit!

Radio Commercial Day

Did you know that in 1922 the first radio commercial was broadcast? Queensboro Realty received 10 minutes of air time on New York station WEAF for $100.

Commercial radio stations make most of their revenue selling "airtime" to advertisers. Of total media expenditures, radio accounts for 6.9%. Radio advertisements or "spots" are available when a business or service provides valuable consideration, usually cash, in exchange for the station airing their spot or mentioning them on air. The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), established under the Communications Act of 1934, regulates commercial broadcasting, and the laws regarding radio advertisements remain relatively unchanged from the original Radio Act of 1927, enacted to deal with increasing problems of signal interference as more and more stations sprung up around the country.

The first radio broadcasts aired in the early 1900's. However, it wasn't until 1919 that radio stations began to broadcast continuously, similar to the modern practice. In the United States, on November 2, 1920, KDKA aired the first commercial broadcast. As more stations began operating on a continuous basis, station owners were increasingly faced with the issue of how to maintain their stations financially, because operating a radio station was a significant expense.

In February 1922, AT&T announced they would begin selling "toll broadcasting" to advertisers, in which businesses would underwrite or finance a broadcast, in exchange for being mentioned on the radio.[ WEAF of New York is credited with airing the first paid radio commercial, on August 28, 1921, for the Queensboro Corporation, advertising an apartment complex. However, it appears other radio stations may actually have sold advertising before WEAF. As early as May 1920, an amateur radio broadcaster leased out his "station" in exchange for $35 per week for twice-weekly broadcasts. And, in Seattle, Washington, Remick's Music Store purchased a large ad in the local newspaper advertising radio station KFC, in exchange for sponsorship of a weekly program, in March 1922. Additionally, on April 4, 1922, a car dealer, Alvin T. Fuller, purchased time on WGI of Medford Hillside, Massachusetts, in exchanges for mentions.

During radio's Golden Age, advertisers sponsored entire programs, usually with some sort of message like "We thank our sponsors for making this program possible", airing at the beginning or end of a program. While radio had the obvious limitation of being restricted to sound, as the industry developed, large stations began to experiment with different formats. Advertising had become a hot commodity and there was money to be made. The advertising director at Shell Oil Co., urged radio broadcasters to deal directly with relevant advertisers, and sell tie-in commercial spots for established radio programs. Like newspaper ads at the time, Sanders figured that advertisers and radio would both benefit from selling ad spots to get the attention of listeners. Radio was an already prominent medium, but Sanders referred to his initiative as radio 'growing up' in terms of its business aspects and how it dealt with advertising.  The "visual" portion of the broadcast was supplied by the listener's boundless imagination.  Comedian and voice actor Stan Freberg demonstrated this point on his radio show in 1957, using sound effects to dramatize the towing of a 10-ton maraschino cherry by the Royal Canadian Air Force, who dropped it onto a 700-ft. mountain of whipped cream floating in hot-chocolate filled Lake Michigan, to the cheering of 25,000 extras. The bit was later used by the USA's Radio Advertising Bureau to promote radio commercials.

The radio industry has changed significantly since that first broadcast in 1920, and radio is big business today. Although other media and new technologies now place more demands on consumer's time, 95% of people still listen to the radio every week. Internet radio listening is also growing, with 13 percent of the U.S. population listening via this method. Although consumers have more choices today, 92 percent of listeners stay tuned in when commercials break into their programming.

Dream Day

On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the African American civil rights movement reaches its high-water mark when Martin Luther King, Jr., speaks to about 250,000 people attending the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The demonstrators--black and white, poor and rich--came together in the nation's capital to demand voting rights and equal opportunity for African Americans and to appeal for an end to racial segregation and discrimination.

The peaceful rally was the largest assembly for a redress of grievances that the capital had ever seen, and King was the last speaker. With the statue of Abraham Lincoln--the Great Emancipator--towering behind him, King used the rhetorical talents he had developed as a Baptist preacher to show how, as he put it, the "Negro is still not free." He told of the struggle ahead, stressing the importance of continued action and nonviolent protest. Coming to the end of his prepared text (which, like other speakers that day, he had limited to seven minutes), he was overwhelmed by the moment and launched into an improvised sermon.

He told the hushed crowd, "Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair." Continuing, he began the refrain that made the speech one of the best known in U.S. history, second only to Lincoln's 1863 "Gettysburg Address":

"I have a dream," he boomed over the crowd stretching from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument, "that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.' I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today."

King had used the "I have a dream" theme before, in a handful of stump speeches, but never with the force and effectiveness of that hot August day in Washington. He equated the civil rights movement with the highest and noblest ideals of the American tradition, allowing many to see for the first time the importance and urgency of racial equality. He ended his stirring, 16-minute speech with his vision of the fruit of racial harmony:

"When we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!'"

In the year after the March on Washington, the civil rights movement achieved two of its greatest successes: the ratification of the 24th Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished the poll tax and thus a barrier to poor African American voters in the South; and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited racial discrimination in employment and education and outlawed racial segregation in public facilities. In October 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr., was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On April 4, 1968, he was shot to death while standing on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee--he was 39 years old. The gunman was escaped convict James Earl Ray.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Holidays and Observances for August 27 2014

"The Duchess" Who Wasn't Day

“The Duchess” Who Wasn’t Day celebrates the life of Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, an irish novelist who was always published under the pen name “The Duchess” in the United States – also the name of her most popular novel, published in 1887. Margaret is responsible for the popular phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, in her book Molly Bawn, so try and slip it into conversation!

In total, The Duchess had at least 57 works attributed to her name but could have written many, many more as a lot of her early work was published as Anonymous, and later as Mrs Hungerford, before “The Duchess” became popular in the States. She also wrote many newspaper articles and had a large family – four daughters and two sons.

Born on the 27th April 1855 in County Cork, she won prizes in school for writing stories. After the death of her first husband in 1876 The Duchess took to writing more seriously to support her three daughters, and it was shortly after this that her first book “Phyllis” was written, and a little later on “Molly Bawn”.

She remarried in 1882, had two sons and a daughter with her second husband and eventually died of typhoid fever in 1897.

Just Because Day

On August 27, is Just Because Day. Why? Just because! It is believed that it was founded in 2005 as a chance to do something without a rhyme or reason. Reason is the ability of the human mind to form and operate on concepts in abstraction, in an ordered and usually a goal-oriented manner. Often you do something because you have to, or you want to, or it's expected of you. None of those applies today. 

If you've ever wanted to act on a strange impulse but without any logical motivation to do so, normally you still don't. But don't let that stop you on Just Because Day! You could start with the first thing that comes to your mind. Maybe you think about buying something without a need, think about walking backwards or throwing spitballs on the floor. Just feel free to do this just because.

Today, don’t do things because you have to. On this day, everything you do, do it just because! You don’t need any reasons, just do it. The actions can vary from doing something you’ve always wanted to do but never had a reason to do so, to doing something nice for someone – just because.

Can’t think of anything? Here are five awesome ideas to get you started:
  • Do the unexpected – act out of character and surprise your friends with a new attitude. If they have any questions, tell them you’re doing it just because.
  • Call in to work and let them know you won’t be going in just because. Well, maybe just call in sick, your boss might not be into the holiday spirit so much!
  • Buy something you don’t need.
  • Get your special someone some flowers, chocolate or a nice card.
  • Text, call or visit someone you haven’t seen in a while to catch up.
Hope that helped you out with some ideas!

National Petroleum Day

August 27 is National Petroleum Day, also referred to as Oil and Gas Industry Appreciation Day. This annual event raises awareness about the impact petroleum has on our lives and our environment.

Petroleum, a fossil fuel, takes millions of years to form and is considered a non-renewable energy source. While petroleum is used in many products including gasoline, asphalt, tires, candles, perfume and plastics, its supply is limited. Some predict this natural resource will be completely depleted in a few decades.

According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), America is the largest consumer of petroleum products. In 2011, Americans consumed over 18 million barrels of petroleum products per day. While Canada, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria and Mexico are top sources of net crude oil and petroleum product imports, crude oil is also produced in 31 states and U.S. coastal waters. But it is difficult to determine where the petroleum products we use actually come from once they are refined.

Alternative Energy
As the cost of gasoline continues to go up, our reliance on oil has many Americans taking a serious look at alternative energy. Because of improvements in efficiency, consumer behavior and our current economic conditions, American's dependence on oil has actually declined over the years while our use of domestic biofuels and domestic production of natural gas plant liquids and crude oil has increased.

While petroleum is a substance used in a wide variety of products, this nonrenewable resource poses significant environmental issues including pollution, contaminated soil and oil spills. Decreasing society’s reliance on petroleum and increasing our use of renewable resources, is an affordable and environmentally-friendly alternative to reduce our dependency on our dwindling supply of fossil fuels.

National Pots de Creme Day

Ready for your French lesson? August 27 is National Pot de Crème Day!

Let’s start with pronunciation. Try saying it like this: Poh-deh-krem.

A definition would probably help too. Pot de crème translates to "pot of cream." It’s a very creamy dessert that’s essentially an egg heavy, loose custard that’s baked in a cup. That’s where the pots - or ramekins - come in. They’re typically small, and were originally made from porcelain. Some even came with cute little lids and tiny spoons.

The secret to a good pot de crème is in the method. In most recipes you’ll see this kind of egg to liquid ratio: one whole egg to every five egg yolks for every 2 1/2 to 3 cups of liquid. The custard is made by heating milk or heavy cream with flavoring. Typically pots de crème are vanilla, though chocolate is very popular too.

The eggs are whisked separately until very smooth and voluminous. The hot liquid mixture is then tempered into the egg mixture so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs. After that, the whole thing needs to be strained through a sieve.

Once the base mixture is done, it’s poured into three-ounce ramekins or little pots which are then placed in a larger baking dish. Add hot water to the baking dish until it reaches halfway up the sides of the pots. This is called a water bath and prevents the eggs from getting rubbery. Also, it helps if the baking dish is covered so a skin doesn't form on top of the custard.

While this might not sound like the easiest dessert to whip up on a whim, it sure does satisfy. The custard is creamy and velvety, and well worth the effort.

Tug-of-War Day

Tug-of-war is a competitive sport that takes place around the world and has a long and ancient history. Two teams hold each end of a large rope and attempt to pull the other towards them in order to win. Contests often take place over bodies of water or muddy areas so that the losing team suffers the indignity of falling in, which is preferable to the Viking version of tug-of-war when teams competed over a pit of fire. The number of people taking part can vary from just a few to a large crowd, with the world record for a single tug-of-war standing at 1,574 participants. It is not surprising that such a popular event has its own annual day; Tug-of-War Day. Cries of ‘heave’ are heard around the world on a day when numerous matches take place, giving a chance to take part or cheer on this timeless team game.

Tug-of-War History
Also known as tug o' war, tug war, rope war, rope pulling, or tugging war, tug-of-war is a sport that directly pits two teams against each other in a test of strength.
The sport of tug-of-war has a very long history. Artwork in a 4000-year-old tomb in Sakkara, Egypt depicts teams of 3 young men pitted against each other in the ropeless version of tug-of-war.
This practice, with or without the rope was carried over into many civilizations, often under ritual forms, such as Burma(Myanmar), Congo, Korea, India,
Indonesia, Hawaii, New Guinea and New Zealand.
In Korea local villages used tug of war to settle disputes for centuries.
Each village or township made a straw rope of a prescribed thickness
and length. On the day of the contest, the team representatives, sometimes
numbering as many as a hundred, brought the rope to the chosen site.
All of the ropes were then connected and the tug of war began. One side
of the rope was considered female and the other side male. It was hoped
that the female side won as it was symbolic of a good harvest. As a side note,
tug of war is depicted on one of the few commemorative coins, the 5,000 won,
minted for the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

Tug of war in ancient Greece was practiced both as a competition and as
a physical exercise in order to train for other sports. At the courts of the
Chinese emporers, around 1200 A.D., teams specifically trained for tug of war
competed against each other in tournaments. The Chinese used a Main rope
and many side ropes. In the 13th and 14th centuries the Sport was widespread
across Aisa. Records exist in Mongolia and Turkey. In medieval Europe,
Viking warriors pulled animal skins over open pits of fire, a test of strength and
endurance that prepared them for battle. In India, tug-of-war is depicted on
a relief found on the Sun Temple of Konark, which was built in the 12th
Centruy A.D. detail of relief appears below.

In the 15th century, tug of war tournaments were frequently held in Scandanavia and later in the remainder of Western Europe.

The modern version of tug-of-war may have descended from sailors on British naval ships, and later those on trading ships traveling to and from India with perishables such as tea. The men on early naval ships maneuvered the ships by pulling on ropes that adjusted the ship’s sails. The sailors on the fast trading ship, the Cutty Sark, were observed in 1889, while docked in Sydney Harbor, Australia, by a young army officer who on a troop ship on his way to India. He watched the sailors pulling a form of tug of war on deck while there ship was becalmed. The boson explained that it was a way of keeping the crews fit, and from the rivalry and great pleasure that the men got from it, he decided to put his men to it, to keep them fit on the long sea journey from England to India.

In India the army put it on the grass, and it quickly became a source of great rivalry between regiments. It became the favorite sport of the other ranks, who brought it back to England. On leaving the army they took it with them into the police forces and the Fire brigades, and into the factories. Soon it spread across the whole country, displacing anything that had been before.

The name Tug-O-War may come from those crews that hauled on the ropes to power the Man-O-War Ships. Tug of war became an organized sport at the end of the 19th century when clubs were formed.

When the Olympic Games were revived, tug-of-war was featured on the program of the Paris Olympic Games in 1900. International rules became necessary. They still exist today having undergone very slight modifications. Tug-of-war was always contested as a part of the track and field athletics program, although it is now considered a separate sport. The Olympic champions were as follows: 1900: a combined Swedish/Danish team; 1904: an American club team representing the Milwaukee Athletic Club; 1906: Germany/Switzerland; 1908: a British team from the City of London Police Club; 1912: Sweden; and 1920: Great Britain.

After the 1920 Games, the International Olympic Committee trimmed the competition program and tug of war's participation was cancelled. As tug-of-war was no longer on the Olympic Program, national athletic and gymnastic associations were not very interested in tug of war as a discipline. The tug-of-war teams, at that time, felt that they had to establish their own autonomous association. The first association was founded in Sweden in 1933. Other countries followed including Great Britain in 1958 and the Netherlands in 1959.
The Tug-of-War International Federation (TWIF) was formed in 1960 to govern the sport on an international level, under the stewardship of George Hutton of the Great Britain Association and Rudolf Ullmark of Sweden. The First TWIF Meeting was in Sweden in 1964. The first modern International Event was at the Baltic games in 1964. TWIF organized its first European Championships in London at Crystal Palace in 1965. After non-European countries had also joined the international federation, TWIF held its first World Championships in 1975 in the Netherlands. The female competition was first organized at the World Championships in 1986.

The sport of Tug of War has been included in World Games from the first event in Santa Clara, U.S.A. in 1981.The World Games includes sports which are not included in the Olympic Program.

History of USATOWA The United States Amateur Tug of War Association
(USATOWA) was formed in 1978. Its members are located primarily in the 
upper Midwest. The USATOWA sent its first team to compete in the World Championships in 1978.
Banana Lovers Day

Many of you might have enjoyed a banana for breakfast – or are probably thinking of doing so for lunch or dinner –, yet odds are few are aware of the fact that the 27th of August marks the celebration of the official Banana Lovers Day.

Seeing how green-oriented behaviors are more often than not linked to considerable considerations given to a well-balanced diet, in which fruits and vegetables take center stage, perhaps it would perhaps not be such a waste to take some time in order to talk about how bananas impact on our lives. 

Besides the fact that countless jokes and even songs revolve around these fruits, rumor has it that about 100 billion bananas are eaten all around the world on a yearly basis. 

Most of them come from India and Brazil, which apparently are world leaders when it comes to growing bananas. 

Interestingly enough, it seems that Americans have an especially fruity-tooth when it comes to bananas, something easily proven by the fact that they consume about 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) of these fruit annually. 

In case you were wondering, this makes bananas the most appreciated fruit in this country. 

The Examiner informs us that bananas are one of the healthiest natural choices presently available in supermarkets. This is because they contain high amounts of fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, B6 and manganese, not to mention the fact that they help keep various health conditions well under control. 

One thing you may not know about bananas is that they do not in fact grow on trees. Quite the contrary: the plant that “fathers” them is a herbaceous plant of the same family with lilies, orchids and palms. 

As well as this, some regions in Eastern Africa use this fruit as a main ingredient for producing beer. Some people argue that banana beer is pretty much your run-off-the-mill alcoholic beverage, only that it is sometimes used in rituals and ceremonies.