Sunday, August 10, 2014

Holidays and Observances for August 10 2014

National Duran Duran Appreciation Day

English rock band Duran Duran formed in 1978, just one year before the oldest founding member of The Year of Living Unofficially was born. The group quickly became one of the hottest bands of the 80′s, with multiple top hits in the UK and the U.S., and over 100 million records sold. With their interest in fashion and their signature innovative music videos, the band earned itself a cutting-edge image while being nicknamed “the prettiest boys in rock.” Original members included Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Stephen Duffy, and though the lineup had changed over the years, Duran Duran still tours today, with originals Rhodes and Taylor, and added members Simon Le Bon and Roger Taylor. One source claims that National Duran Duran Appreciation Day is celebrated on August 10th because, on that date in 1985, lead singer Simon Le Bon survived a near fatal accident when his yacht capsized during a 608 mile race. The band acknowledges National Duran Duran Appreciation Day on their official website and thanks Durran Durran fans for their continued support. Last year the group offered a “snippet” of one of the songs from the album they released the following Spring; this year the band is offering a free download of Other People’s Lives from the single off their new album All You Need Is Now.

Everyone knows Duran Duran right? Until today I would have answered that question with a simple, “Yes!” But thanks to the wonderful Pandora I discovered that Duran Duran has way more! The past few days have been pretty busy around the apartment and today was no exception. I made the best of things though and took full advantage of the opportunity to listen to some Duran Duran tracks to help the day go by. These guys can really rock! While their sound is definitely identifiable as being from the 80′s they also have a sound that is in a sense timeless. It’s no wonder that the best band of all time (in my opinion), Incubus, covered probably the most famous Duran Duran song Hungry Like the Wolf. After today I am seriously considering the addition of more Duran Duran to my daily playlist. Not only do they deserve their own day because of Simon Le Bon’s close call but for their musical achievements as well.

National Lazy Day

Today, Friday, August 10, is National Lazy Day. No creator was found for this holiday. He or she was probably too lazy to document and claim it.

Since there is no official documentation of this day, we’re taking the title of the day literally. Today is your chance to do anything you want except be productive! Forget work, chores, or anything you have in your ‘to-do’ list, it can all wait for one more day. Instead, kick back and be lazy. Lazy Day falls on a Friday this year; could it be more perfect? What better way to welcome the weekend but with total relaxation.

If the weather permits, sit outside on your swinging chair and take a nap or sit by the shade with your favorite summer beverage. You’ll be back to your regular busy schedule tomorrow so make sure to catch up on some Zzz’s and recharge your body today.

Coming up later this month, is Relaxation Day, similar to today’s holiday. Don’t you just love August now?

National S'mores Day

National S'mores Day is an unofficial food holiday celebrated on August 10 each year. S'mores are graham crackers with melted marshmallows and chocolate. The food holiday celebrates the creation which is often made when camping out, or for those who have no opportunity to camp made over barbecue grills, in ovens or in a microwave. S'mores are a common treat made on camping trips by groups like Girl Scouts or Youth Groups.

National S'mores Day doesn't have a documented history but the day is observed in the U.S. by has those who enjoy the treat. The actual origin of a s'mores is unknown but it is believed campers in the early part of the 20th century. The name of the treat comes from the two words "some more" indicating seconds are commonly desired. S'mores recipes were published in the 1927 Girl Scout handbook.

A celebration of National S'mores Day can include a gathering of friends to make a batch of the treat to enjoy. The treat can be enjoyed over a campfire or made under the stove broiler. In the Naperville, Illinois area, the Naperville Settlement Museum celebrates the day by inviting families to join in the park for making s'mores over a campfire.

Skyscraper Appreciation Day

Skyscraper Appreciation Day is celebrated on August 10th, the birth date of William Van Alen, the primary architect behind the construction of the Chrysler Building, the most popular skyscraper in New York City.

William Van Alen was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1883. He attended Pratt Institute while working for the architect Clarence True. He also studied for three years at the Atelier Masqueray, the first independent architectural atelier in the United States, founded by Franco-American architect Emmanuel Louis Masqueray.

Thereafter, Van Alen worked for firms in New York, notably working on the Hotel Astor in 1902 for Clinton & Russell, before he was awarded the Paris Prize scholarship in 1908. The scholarship led to his studying in Paris, in the atelier of Victor Laloux at the École des Beaux-Arts.

By the time Van Alen returned to New York in 1910, he had become interested in new architectural styles, including the modernism for which he later became known. In 1911 he formed a partnership with H. Craig Severance, another architect with similar professional interests but a very different personal style. Severance was gregarious and charming while Van Alen was more introverted. The partnership prospered and became known for its distinctive multistory commercial structures. It completed a building in 1914 in Lower Manhattan that was notable for having storefront windows that were flush with the walls rather than set back, an innovation that later became a standard practice. In the 1920s Severance and Van Alen began to get bigger commissions, but their relationship grew more strained due to their personal differences, and the partnership dissolved in 1924.

Thereafter, both Severance and Van Alen continued to practice on their own in New York, but Van Alen found it difficult to obtain large commissions and therefore sustained his office with smaller commissions. In the mid-1920's he received two of these from Childs Restaurants, an early restaurant chain that was known for the quality of its architecture. His design for 604 Fifth Avenue, a slender six-story building in Midtown Manhattan completed in 1925, incorporated curved glass corner windows which lacked a supporting corner post, another innovation that later became common. This building, which housed a Childs restaurant on its lower floors, garnered notice from Le Corbusier and other prominent architecture critics. His design for another Childs location at 2 Massachusetts Ave. NW in Washington, DC, completed in 1926, was very different. A single-story stone structure on a small triangular plot near Union Station, it featured large arched windows. Though Childs vacated both structures in the 1950s, they were extant and in use in 2014, the Manhattan building as a restaurant and the Washington building as a bank.

In the late 1920s, Severance and Van Alen found themselves engaged in designing buildings that were heralded in the press to become the tallest buildings in the world: Severance, the Manhattan Trust Building 40 Wall Street and Van Alen, the Chrysler Building. At 1046 feet, Van Alen's building won. However, both buildings were surpassed in height by the Empire State Buildingin 1931.

The completion of the Chrysler Building was received by critics with mixed reactions. Van Alen was hailed as a "Doctor of Altitude" and as "the Ziegfeld of his profession." However, the building itself was described by some critics as just flash which "embodies no compelling, organic idea" and which was "distinctly a stunt design, evolved to make the man in the street look up" but having "no significance as serious design." Nevertheless, the Chrysler Building remains a beloved New York City landmark structure.

Van Alen had failed to enter into a contract with Walter Chrysler when he received the Chrysler Building commission. After the building was completed, Van Alen requested payment of 6 percent of the building's construction budget ($14 million), a figure that was the standard fee of the time. After Chrysler refused payment, Van Alen sued him and won, eventually receiving the fee. The lawsuit significantly depreciated his reputation as an employable architect. His career effectively ruined by this and further depressed by the Great Depression, Van Alen focused his attention on teaching sculpture.

Skyscraper Appreciation Day was started by Dr. Tom Stevens. It was created so people can appreciate the engineering and architectural marvels we know as skyscrapers, which represent the triumph of reason and of man's industrial nature.