Saturday, August 9, 2014

Holidays and Observances for August 9 2014

National Book Lovers Day

Did you know that today is National Book Lovers Day. The day for book lovers is actually celebrated two times each year. The first celebration is August 9 and the second is the first Saturday of November.

National Book Lovers Day is an important celebration in reading. According to an October 23, 2012 Pew Research Center study titled Younger Americans’ Reading And Library Habits, more than 8 in 10 Americans between 16 and 29 have read a book in the last year. The study also finds that college-age students between 18 and 24 have the highest level of reading rate.

National Book Lovers Day isn’t just about picking up a paperback or hardcover. We are encouraged to grab the newest Amazon e-Book and consume literature in any way we can.

Even with the advent of digital books, consumers continue to lean towards print. The Pew Research study found that 75 percent of Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 read print books while 19 percent read e-books and 11 percent of survey takers said that audio books were the way to go.

On National Book Lovers Day organizers urge readers to find something they will enjoy, even if they don’t normally enjoy picking up a book.

Remember that heading to your local library can be more than just a trip to pick up a book. Celebrate National Book Lovers Day with a book but then check out your library’s selection of DVDs/Blu-rays, music, and other offerings. Read the book of your choice then reward yourself with a movie if that is more your fare.

If you need a book to read, here are the Top 15 fiction books currently listed on the New York Times Best Sellers list:
  1. Fifty Shades Of Grey, By E. L. James
  2. A Perfect Life, By Danielle Steel
  3. The Heist, By Daniel Silva
  4. Gone Girl, By Gillian Flynn
  5. Tom Clancy: Support And Defend, By Mark Greaney
  6. The Book Of Life, By Deborah Harkness
  7. Act Of War, By Brad Thor
  8. The Goldfinch, By Donna Tartt
  9. Invisible, By James Patterson And David Ellis
  10. Remains Of Innocence, By J. A. Jance
  11. Fifty Shades Trilogy, By E. L. James
  12. Orphan Train, By Christina Baker Kline
  13. The Silkworm, By Robert Galbraith
  14. Top Secret Twenty-One, By Janet Evanovich
  15. Don't Say A Word, By Barbara Freethy

International Day of The World's Indigenous People

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of the World's Indigenous People is observed on August 9 each year to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population. This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection.

People from different nations are encouraged to participate in observing the day to spread the UN’s message on indigenous peoples. Activities may include educational forums and classroom activities to gain an appreciation and a better understanding of indigenous peoples. Events may include messages from the UN secretary general and other key leaders, performances by indigenous artists, and panel discussions on reconciliation.

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is celebrated on August 9 each year to recognize the first UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations meeting in Geneva in 1982. On December 23, 1994, the UN General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People should be observed on August 9 annually during the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People.

In 2004 the assembly proclaimed the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (2005-2014). The assembly also decided to continue observing the International Day of Indigenous People annually during the second decade. The decade’s goal was to further strengthen international cooperation for solving problems faced by indigenous peoples in areas such as culture, education, health, human rights, the environment, and social and economic development.

In April 2000, the Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution to establish the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that was endorsed by the Economic and Social Council. The forum’s mandate is to discuss indigenous issues related to culture, economic and social development, education, the environment, health and human rights.

Artwork by Rebang Dewan, a Chackma boy from Bangladesh, was chosen as the visual identifier of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. It has also been seen on material to promote the International Day of the World's Indigenous People. It features two ears of green leaves facing each other and cradling a globe resembling planet earth. Within the globe is a picture of a handshake (two different hands) in the middle and above the handshake is a landscape background. The handshake and the landscape background are encapsulated by blue at the top and bottom within the globe.

For this occasion, Rebang Dewan’s artwork is often seen together with a pale blue version of the UN logo with the words “We the peoples” written in the middle. The logo is set on a darker blue background. The UN logo is often associated with marketing and promotional material UN events. It features a projection of a world map (less Antarctica) centered on the North Pole, enclosed by olive branches. The olive branches symbolize peace and the world map represents people in the world.

National Garage Sale Day

Who knew! There is a national holiday devoted to the garage sale. How American is that?! We are such a consumer society that we denote a day of the year when we celebrate getting rid of stuff, so we can go by more. Or maybe you’ll be out shopping the garage sales. You know “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

If you want to participate in this all American holiday, it’s less than two weeks away. It’s time to get to work and rummage through your house for all those no-longer-wanted-items. Remember, if you haven’t used it in the last year you probably never will again.

National Garage Sale Day is always the second Saturday in August — we celebrate the coming together of those with belongings they no longer want and those with a want for belongings they don’t have.

Make no mistake: Garage sales are big business — even if the average selling price of goods at such events is a mere 85 cents.

Take 85 cents here and 85 cents there, and, pretty soon, you have $4,222,375. That’s the total revenue that U.S. garage sales generate each week, according to the website

“Running a yard sale is not rocket science,” J.D. Roth notes on his tip-filled website “But if you put a little effort into creating an environment where it is pleasant to browse and easy to find treasures, you’ll make a lot more money.”

Preparation is critical, Roth maintains. And being prepared, he adds, means a whole lot more than simply making sure the merchandise is neatly arranged and the cash box is filled with coins and small-denomination bills. (No one, after all, wants to lose a sale just because of an inability to break a $5 bill.)

Roth suggests that proper preparation starts with figuring out why the sale is being held in the first place.

“Are you selling things to make money or to get rid of them? This question affects everything you do, from how you price things to how willing you are to negotiate. Surprisingly, you can often make more money (and get rid of more junk) by pricing things low.”

No. 2 on Roth’s recommended to-do list: advertise. Ads should be placed in local newspapers and on websites five or six days before the sale. Neighborhood signs should be eye-catching, simple and, above all, readable.

“It’s best to use big, bold text like ‘HUGE SALE’ with an arrow pointing the right direction.”

Consumer Reports offers these tips:
  • Schedule your garage sale to coincide with a local event that’s likely to generate extra traffic near your home.
  • Place the items with the broadest appeal close to the street to grab attention and lure potential buyers up the driveway.
  • Sort clothing into categories — by gender, season and age group, for example — and display those items, if possible, on hangers.
  • Keep a mirror handy if you’re selling accessories.
  • Place fresh batteries in items that require them and keep a power source handy so shoppers can try out electronics and other plug-in appliances.
Finally, don’t forget what follows National Garage Sale Day by just six days: National Thrift Shop Day.

National Polka Day

National Polka Day is celebrated on the 9th of August every year.

Polka is a form of dance that involves a series of peppy and quick steps, done along with a partner. The music for the dance is rocking accordion style music. This fast-paced duet dance form is said to have originated in the 1800s in Bohemia. It is also said that a girl named Anna Slezak was the one who invented this dance in the year 1834. The dance then gained popularity in ballrooms around the world. The dance is a series of triple steps performed to the tune of polka music played on the accordion. The dance is great fun and a rigorous exercise too.

Be a part of the polka festivals organized at various venues in your city on this day. In addition to featuring different polka styles and accordion music these festivals also offer traditional food and lots of beer. But if you are not a person who likes to be lost in a crowd, then you could celebrate this day with your kids right in the comfort of your home.  Whatever you do just enjoy the day with a jig of polka in it.

National Rice Pudding Day

It’s National Rice Pudding Day! Rice pudding is a delicious treat that combines the smooth, creamy texture of pudding with nutritious and filling rice. 

Rice pudding is an ancient dish enjoyed by people of many cultures and cuisines. This food traces its roots to the grain pottages of made by middle eastern cooks. It has long been associated with good nutrition and easy digestion, and were first mentioned in medical texts rather than cookery books. Throughout history rice pudding has been recommended for the young, the old, and people of all ages with stomach ailments. In 19th century America, arrowroot and tapioca puddings were prescribed for much the same reason.

The history of rice is a long and complicated story. Food historians generally agree that rice came to Europe by way of India. At first, rice was not used as an ingredient in cooking. It was prized for its medicinal value and known as a thickening agent. The history of spices also figures prominently in the history of this dish.

Rice pudding around the world

Middle East
"Firni, a sweet milky dessert, to be eaten cold, made either with cornflour or rice flour or sometimes both and usually flavored with rose water and/or ground cardamom. The dish is decorated with chopped or ground almonds or pistachio nuts...the history of firni goes back a very long way; it seems to have originated in ancient Persia or the Middle East; and to have been introduced to India by the Moghuls."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 300)

"Shola...the name given to a number of dishes all over the Middle East, Iran, and Afghanistan in which short-grain rice is cooked until soft and thick, with other ingredients chose according to whether the shola is be be savoury or sweet...sholleh was brought to Perisa by the Mongolians in the 13th century...Shola-e-zard is a sweet saffron and rosewater (or orange flower water) flavoured rice dish...It has a religious significance, being made on the 10th day or Muharram (the Muslim month of mourning)...also made as a nazr, which is a custom of thanksgiving or pledge practiced in Iran and Afghanistan. The shola is cooked and then distributed to the poor and to neighbors and relatives."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 720)

"Kheer is the Indian name for sweet milk puddings usually made with rice, although it can also be made with fine noodles called seviyan, or semolina, carrots or sage. It is sometimes called sheer, which means milk in Persian. It probably originated in Persia where a similar dessert is known as sheer birinj (rice pudding). There are many variations in the flavourings which can include raisins, cardamom, cinnamon, almond, pistachio, saffron, kewra essence...or rose water, etc. For special occasions it is customary to decorate the chilled kheer with edible silver or gold leaf. The Persian version, sheer birinj, according to Kekmat...was originally the food of angels, first made in heaven when the Prophet Muhammad ascended to the 7th floor of Heaven to meet God and he was served this dish."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 431)

"Kheer. A sweet confection based on rice. When prepared as a ritual pucca' food, the rice is first lightly fried in ghee before boiling with sugared milk till the milk thickens. A kheer of jowar is mentioned in the fourteenth century padmavat of Gugarat, and other cereal products (vermicelli, cev, pheni) may be used as well. A thinner product is payasam, and both are popular desserts, routinely as well as on festive occasions. The Hindi word kheer derives from the Sanskrit ksheer for milk and kshirika for any dish prepared with milk."
---A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food, K. T. Achaya [Oxford University Press:Delhi] 1998 (p. 130)

"The Chinese eight jewel rice pudding is so named because it is made with eight different kinds of fruit preserved with honey. Eight was said by Confucius to be the number of perfection. The fruits are arranged on the bottom of the dish and cooked, sweetened glutinous rice poured on top. The pudding is then steamed for several hours so that the rice breaks down into a homogenous mass."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 665)

"Rice pudding is the descendant of earlier rice pottages, which date back to the time of the Romans, who however used such a dish only as a medicine to settle upset stomaches. There were medieval rice pottages made of rice boiled until soft, then mixed with almond milk or cow's milk, or both, sweetened, and sometimes coloured. Rice was an expensive import, and these were luxury Lenten dishes for the rich. Recipes for baked rice puddings began to appear in the early 17th century. Often they were rather complicated...Nutmeg survives in modern recipes. It is now unusual to add eggs or fat, and rice pudding has tended to become a severely plain nursery dish. Nevertheless, it has its devotees."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 665)

"Northern Italians fancy themselves as having a monopoly on the consumption of rice, but in fact rice first entered Europe as a foodstuff via Arab-occupied Spain and Sicily. The Romans knew rice only as an extremely expensive commodity imported in small quantities from India for medicinal purposes."
--- Pomp and Sustenance: Twenty-Five Centuries of Sicilian Food, Mary Taylor Simeti [ECCO Press:Hopewell NJ] 1998 (p. 69)

Enjoy some rice pudding today in honor of National Rice Pudding Day!

Veep Day

In accordance with his statement of resignation the previous evening, Richard M. Nixon officially ends his term as the 37th president of the United States at noon. Before departing with his family in a helicopter from the White House lawn, he smiled farewell and enigmatically raised his arms in a victory or peace salute. The helicopter door was then closed, and the Nixon family began their journey home to San Clemente, California. Richard Nixon was the first U.S. president to resign from office.

Minutes later, Vice President Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States in the East Room of the White House. After taking the oath of office, President Ford spoke to the nation in a television address, declaring, "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over."

Ford, the first president who came to the office through appointment rather than election, had replaced Spiro Agnew as vice president only eight months before. In a political scandal independent of the Nixon administration's wrongdoings in the Watergate affair, Agnew had been forced to resign in disgrace after he was charged with income tax evasion and political corruption. In September 1974, Ford pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office, explaining that he wanted to end the national divisions created by the Watergate scandal.

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