Friday, August 15, 2014

Holidays and Observances for August 15 2014

Chauvin Day

This is a weird “holiday.” It commemorates a bad belief, or maybe an unfortunate personality trait!

Have you ever wondered where the word “chauvinism” comes from? (Actually, have you ever heard the word “chauvinism” before?)

A chauvinist is someone who loudly and aggressively says blindly patriotic things—you know, the things that boil down to “my country is always right.” A chauvinist may also be unreasonably enthusiastic about military glory.

The word “chauvinist” has now been generalized for anyone who is overly, absurdly enthusiastic about his or her own religion, ethnic group, sex, or any other group—if that person's devotion is biased and especially if it spills over into disparagement of other religions or groups, or patronization of the opposite sex.

So, where did the word come from?
In the late 1700s a man named Napoleon Bonaparte rose to fame as a successful military leader of the French armed forces. In the early 1800s he declared himself Emperor of the French. One of Napoleon's soldiers idolized him so greatly that this soldier eventually became ridiculous and the butt of others' jokes. This soldier often and loudly proclaimed blind devotion and loyalty to Napoleon and to anything French—and he was named Nicholas Chauvin.

Nicolas Chauvin is a legendary, possibly apocryphal French soldier and patriot who is supposed to have served in the First Army of the French Republic and subsequently in La Grande Armée of Napoleon. His name is the eponym of chauvinism, originally a term for excessive nationalistic fervor, but later used to refer to any form of bigotry or bias (e.g., male chauvinism).

According to the stories that developed about him, Chauvin was born in Rochefort, around 1780. He enlisted at age 18, and served honorably and well. He is said to have been wounded 17 times in his nation's service, resulting in his severe disfigurement and maiming. For his loyalty and dedication, Napoleon himself presented the soldier with a Sabre of Honor and a pension of 200 francs.

Chauvin's distinguished record of service and his love and devotion for Napoleon, which endured despite the price he willingly paid for them, is said to have earned him only ridicule and derision in Restoration France, when Bonapartism became increasingly unpopular.

Oh, and one more thing: some historians are skeptical that Chauvin ever really existed. He may be a fictional character that people who were sick of Bonapartism created!

A legendary character that never ever existed is called apocryphal. Of course, it's difficult to know if people like King Arthur and Robin Hood are based on someone who really lived (or, more likely, more than one person who really lived) or are wholly apocryphal, because their legends concern times from the Sixth and Fourteenth Centuries. I would think that it would be a bit easier to figure out if Chauvin really lived, because Napoleonic times were only a few centuries ago; the fact that some historians think he didn't exist makes me think that there is no evidence—no birth certificate, no written military records—that he did.

National Failures Day

August 15th is celebrated as the National Failures Day every year.

The National Failures Day is celebrated on the same day as the National Relaxation Day. The relationship is quite simple. Failures are a part of everybody’s life. So this day has been set aside so we can acknowledge our failures and make efforts to learn from them and move ahead with a positive attitude.

On this day we can takes steps to teach our children the importance and significance of failure in life. Also to instill confidence in ourselves and our children and telling them to not stop trying for the fear of failure. It is to make them aware that failures are the stepping stones to success.

Another important fact of failure is that just because we have failed at something, does not mean that we deny ourselves the right to relax. Sometimes we might be trying so hard to get a particular job done that we forget to relax. This day also reminds us that we must relax.

On the flip side may be we are relaxing more and hence we might be failing more often. Behind every failure is a learning.

National Lemon Meringue Pie Day

Pucker up, sweet stuff - August 15 is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day!

Do you meringue?  Whether or not fluffy, toasted egg whites are for you, meringue sure makes for a heavenly topping on this decadent pie.

Since Medieval times, we've had an affinity for lemon pies and custards, but meringue didn't start rearing its pillowy head until the 1600s. Alexander Frehse had the bright idea of combining this tangy-sweet duo into a pie in the nineteenth century.

If you've ever tangled with making a lemon meringue pie, you know that the lemon curd and cornstarch filling can be a fickle feat. The best advice I ever received was from my grandmother: "Keep it simple, honey." She swears by the recipe on the side of the cornstarch box, and if you're ever unsure about the consistency, cook it just a minute longer.

Don't worry, we won't tell if you sweep the meringue to the side and dig out all that rich lemon filling.

National Men's Grooming Day

The third Friday in August is National Men's Grooming Day. This holiday was originally established in 2007 by American Crew, which markets men's grooming products to professional shops. Each year salons and barbershops participate by offering specials on men's grooming services.

On Friday, August 17, 2007, American Crew, the leading maker of men’s professional grooming products, plans to pay tribute to the American male during its National Men’s Grooming Day campaign. It’s an opportunity for salons and barbershops worldwide to host grooming events and create awareness of the increased dedication to their male clientele.

Men are paying much more attention – and money – to their grooming habits. Euromonitor International, a market researcher, predicts that overall sales of men’s grooming products will reach a total of $19.5 billion by 2008. Sales in the U.S. alone are nearly $5 billion. American Crew currently manufactures over 35 different products specifically for use by men to meet all of their grooming needs.

“I was a salon owner and educator in the ‘80s and ‘90s,” said David Raccuglia, CEO and founder of American Crew. “ I often wondered what happened to the classic grooming of the ‘20s, ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s. An industry that was so strong throughout history had died. Barbershops disappeared and men were forced to go to salons that mostly catered to women. I was determined to bring back classic grooming by introducing a cool product line exclusively for men.”

Raccuglia succeeded with the launch of American Crew and as the company and its line of masculine products grew, so did the need for more male-friendly salons. On the rise are men’s-only grooming salons, men’s style lounges and private quarters for male services within salons, and an increased menu of spa and salon services for men. Massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, and waxing are becoming as popular as the use of hair gels, moisturizers, and body lotions for men. Sales of male-specific cosmetics and toiletries in the U.S. jumped 37.3 percent between 1998 and 2003 while the International Spa Association has reported that 20 percent of spa-goers are male.

National Relaxation Day

August 15 is the one day every year when it is acceptable to ignore phone calls, disregard e-mails and take it easy because it’s National Relaxation Day!

Originating in Britain as National Slacker Day, the holiday has been unofficially adopted by the United States. Americans began celebrating this holiday years ago and with good reason — our health.

Sometimes we all need a reminder to take a deep breath, shift our eyes from the LED screen and reexamine the world around us. As a millennial—a member of the generation everyone says is always glued to his or her devices—I can attest to the sometimes exhausting energy it takes to be “on” all the time while being plugged in to social networking.

I compare being active in social media as going to a party. Remember those high school or college parties you went to with a group of friends, filled with people you didn't know, with loud music and people rushing by you every few seconds? Imagine going up to each and every single one of those people and starting a five-minute conversation. It would make anyone tired. Now imagine doing that every day.

Here are some ideas for relaxing:
  • Choose an electronic-free hobby and stick with it. Mine is yoga. Namaste.
  • Unless your job requires it, don’t sync your work e-mail with your personal cell phone. It can wait, and you’ll have a fresh perspective in the morning.
  • Wake up 30 minutes early so you can have a little extra “me” time. You’ll feel much more prepared to take on the day.
  • Explore the world around you. Go for a daytime run in the local park, check out the farmer’s market or plan a weekend trip.
  • Stop watching TV, checking your phone or browsing the Internet at least 30 minutes before bed. Your body needs time to relax.
  • Invite friends or family over for a game night or a food-and-wine night. Laughs are always needed in life.
When it comes down to it, what’s the point of life if you can’t enjoy it?

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m very productive at my job, and I enjoy my work, but it’s because I remember to take time for myself. If you never give yourself a break, you’ll never get a chance to step back and appreciate all that is around you. National Relaxation Day is a great reminder for all of us to slow down, do something good for ourselves and learn better habits that enrich our lives. So today I challenge all of you to reevaluate your to-do lists. Move what can be moved to tomorrow and relax. Enjoy this quasi-holiday from the Brits, and if you find yourself stressed today, just say to yourself in an English accent, “I’m going to the pub. Cheerio!”

National Check The Chip Day

Microchips greatly increase the chances that you’ll get your pet back if he/she is lost or stolen…but a microchip only works if its registration information is accurate.

To remind pet owners to have their pets microchipped and to keep the registration information up-to-date, AVMA and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) joined together to create “Check the Chip Day.” 

In 2013, the AVMA and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) joined together to launch “Check the Chip Day” as a reminder to pet owners to check their pet’s microchip registration to make sure it’s up-to-date. Microchips are very effective for identifying lost pets and reuniting them with their families, but that potentially happy ending won’t occur if the microchip registration isn't correct – or worse, if it’s never been registered in the first place.

Check the Chip Day is meant to serve as a reminder to check and update microchip registration information. The few minutes it takes could make all the difference if a pet is lost or stolen. Thanks to microchips (and up-to-date information, of course!), thousands of lost or stolen pets have been reunited with their families, even years later and from thousands of miles apart.

Start planning now to help us celebrate the event and reach our ultimate goal of 100% microchip registration:
  • Include Check the Chip Day in your clinic mailings and newsletters, encouraging pet owners to check their pet’s microchip registration and make sure it’s correct.
  • Share reminders on your social media channels and clinic website.Tag microchip-related tweets and posts with #CheckTheChipDay
  • Join the Facebook event and encourage your clients to do the same. We’ll be posting relevant stories and resources now through August 15, and on August 15 we’ll be sharing additional resources and fun stuff. Feel free to post on our event page what your clinic is planning to celebrate the observance.
  • Share stories of successful reunions to emphasize the importance of microchips and updated registration.
  • Share our resources on microchipping, such as our FAQs, resource document, podcast, and video.
  • Offer free microchip scanning and registration checks on August 15.
  • Consider offering discounted microchipping services on August 15, and help the owner complete the registration process before they leave your clinic.
  • For every microchipped pet seen during appointments on August 15, scan the pet’s microchip to make sure it’s still active, and look up the pet’s information and go over it with the pet’s owner to make sure it’s correct. If it’s not, help them update their information on the spot.
  • Don’t forget to check and update your own pet’s registration, and remind your staff to do the same.