Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Holidays and Observances for September 24 2014

National Bluebird of Happiness Day

Mister Bluebird's on my shoulderIt's the truth, it's actualEv'rything is satisfactualZip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ayWonderful feeling, feeling this way

The symbol of a bluebird as the harbinger of happiness is found in many cultures and may date back thousands of years. One of the oldest examples (found on oracle bone inscriptions of the Shang Dynasty, 1766-1122 BC) is from pre-modern China, where a blue bird (qingniao) was the messenger bird of Xi Wangmu, the 'Queen Mother of the West' who began life as a fearsome goddess and Immortal. By the Tang Dynasty (618-906 AD) she had evolved into a Daoist fairy queen and the protector/patron of "singing girls, dead women, novices, nuns, adepts and priestesses...women [who] stood outside the roles prescribed for women in the traditional Chinese family". Depictions of Xi Wangmu often include a bird—the birds in the earliest depictions are difficult to identify, and by the Tang Dynasty, most of the birds appear in a circle, often with three legs, as a symbol of the sun.

Three species of blue-headed North American thrushes (Turdidae) occupy the genus Sialia. The most widespread and best-known is the Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis), breeding from Canada's prairie provinces to Texas and from the Maritimes to Florida; discrete populations of this species are also found from southeastern Arizona through west Mexico into Guatemala and Nicaragua. The Mountain Bluebird (S. currucoides) breeds on high-elevation plains from central Alaska to Arizona and New Mexico, and the Western Bluebird (S. mexicana) inhabits dry coniferous forests from extreme southwestern Canada to Baja California and from the Great Basin south into west Mexico.

A popular American song of 1934, "Bluebird of Happiness" by Sandor Harmati and Edward Heyman, was recorded twice by Jan Peerce and also by Art Mooney and His Orchestra. That song is probably the origin of the American phrase "the bluebird of happiness," which is also mentioned in the film K-Pax and alluded to in the song "Over The Rainbow" from the "Wizard of Oz."

In 1942, the popular song (There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover used them among other imagery to lift spirits. In reality, though several species of birds nest of the cliffs, the bluebird is not one of them as it is not native to Britain.

The Academy Award-winning song, "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah," from Disney's 1946 live-action and animated film "Song of the South" makes reference to "Mr. Bluebird on my shoulder" as a symbol of good cheer.

In the 1946 Japanese film No Regrets for Our Youth, directed by Akira Kurosawa, when Yukie and Noge reunite in Tokyo during the war, Yukie laments that she is not happy with her career and wants to do something truly meaningful in the struggle for freedom. Noge responds, "Who finds work like that even once in their lives? It's like finding The Blue Bird of Happiness."

In the film Sesame Street Presents: Follow that Bird, the Sleaze Brothers kidnap Big Bird and press him into service in their fun fair, where he is painted blue and billed as the Blue Bird of Happiness. In a witty play on the polysemy of the word "blue," Big Bird sings the mournful song"No Wonder I'm So Blue."

A scene in the Disney film "The Rescuers" uses the bluebird as a symbol of "faith ... you see from afar."

The The Allman Brothers Band's song "Blue Sky" has the lyric "Don't fly, mister blue bird, I'm just walking down the road".

Also mentioned in the "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" episode "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya part III"

The lyrics of the They Might Be Giants song Birdhouse in Your Soul, by John Linnell, include the phrase "blue bird of friendliness."

The bluebird is mentioned at the end of the 1968 Beatles movie Yellow Submarine, when the leader of the Blue Meanies claims that his "cousin is the bluebird of happiness".

National Cherries Jubilee Day

Today is a day to celebrate a tasty dessert. September 24 is National Cherries Jubilee Day. What is a cherries jubilee?

Cherries jubilee is a classic dessert made with cherries served over vanilla ice cream. Most of the time brandy or another liqueur is added to a hot pan and poured over the cherries and ice cream to make a nice sauce.

The original recipe is said to have been designed by French chef Auguste Escoffie who prepared the dish for one of Queen Victoria's jubilee celebrations. It is unclear whether it was her Golden Jubilee in 1887 or the Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Hence the name "Jubilee" because it was at one of the jubilees.

The cherries jubilee quickly became one of the most fashionable desserts of the era. Cherries jubilee became a standard menu item at America’s finest restaurants. Cherries jubilee's popularity became more evident in the 1950s and 1960s.

You do not have to wait to have a dinner party to enjoy cherries jubilee. You can enjoy this popular desert whenever you want to taste something delicious.

Make this easy dessert for yourself and your family. If you do not feel like making it yourself, it is sure to be on the menu of your favorite restaurant.

National Punctuation Day

Prepare yourself, people who love words and writing and those symbols we use to designate pauses and emotions and inflections (and such) throughout our prose and occasionally poetry as well. Monday is the annual holiday of National Punctuation Day (which is fittingly just five days after the birthday of punctuation art known as the emoticon) and we are gearing up to have the most exciting one, ever! (Ever!!!). In honor of the day, we'll be baking this punctuation meatloaf, wearing our favorite "Comma? I Hardly Know Her!" T-shirt, scanning photos of punctuation tattoos, and parsing the web for an array of punctuation mishaps. Speaking of the latter, please send us your most abhorred mistakes—it's for its? Your for you're? Simple yet horrific excesses? Carelessly incorrect use? We'll have some other surprises, too. This is bigger than our own birthday, which we would appreciate if you'd ignore as getting older is no fun ... no fun at all. (&!@%!!) :(. 

There is, however, some fun already kicking up over at the New Yorker, where at Questioningly, a blog based itself in punctuation (the question mark, that is), Ben Greenman presents an evocative new challenge, to "combine two existing pieces of punctuation into a new piece of punctuation." Greenman adds, "Oh, also, you have to name your fused punctuation mark and give some sense of its function. An already existing example is the interrobang, ‽, which conveys excited disbelief. But maybe there should be a ,? mark, which indicates slowness and confusion, or a /\, which indicates disingenuous differentiation between two otherwise similar elements. (What?!) Anyway, you get it. Knock two pieces of punctuation together. Name the resulting ungodly hybrid. That’s your mission." (Tweet your response, as per the rules of the game, with the hashtag #tnyquestion.)

If we're mashing together punctuation, though, consider that you'll have to take into account their personalities and lifestyles as well. Should you really, for instance, pair the proud colon with the passive agressive, timid ellipses (:...) to create a one-eyed perplexed man with an extremely wide face who only eats soft foods? Or, perhaps, the attention-loving semi-colon with her dutiful sister, always on the brink of rage, (;,) to create... an impossibly fit runner, or maybe some sort of amoeba? Or what about just ampersanding ourselves into a stupor: &&&&&&&&&&& (ouch), the way we do with the punctuation mark of the year (!!!!!)? Ooh, that might be one in itself. We'll call it The Everything Bagel, and dub it complicated but delicious with tofu cream cheese. (!)

National Women's Health and Fitness Day

Women’s Health & Fitness Day is the nation’s largest annual health promotion event for women of all ages. This year’s event is set for Wednesday, September 24, 2014, and in future years, is always be held on the last Wednesday in September. This unique national program — with participation by local organizations throughout the U.S. — focuses attention on the importance of regular physical activity and health awareness for women. The event is similar in concept to its “sister” event — National Senior Health & Fitness Day — the nation’s largest older adult health promotion program held every May. Women’s Health & Fitness Day will also be part of a new National Women’s Health & Fitness Week, to be held annually the last week in September.

On Wednesday, September 24, 2014, more than 1,000 groups across the country will host women’s health and fitness events at senior centers, hospitals, health clubs, park and recreation districts, local health and service organizations, schools, retirement communities, houses of worship, and other community locations. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 women of all ages are expected to participate in these local activities.

Local health and fitness activities will vary widely based on the organizations hosting the events and the interests of local women in these communities. Activities will be noncompetitive and may include walking events, exercise demonstrations, health screenings, and health information workshops.

The goal of this event is to encourage women to take control of their health: to learn the facts they need to make smart health choices, and to make time for regular physical activity.

Because of its grassroots nature, the event provides an excellent opportunity for local organizations to showcase the health-related programs and services they offer to women in their communities.

National Women's Health & Fitness Day is a public/private good health partnership organized by the Health Information Resource Center (HIRC)sm, a national clearinghouse for consumer health information professionals. The HIRC's "sister" organization, the Mature Market Resource Center, is the official organizer of National Senior Health & Fitness Day - the nation's largest older adult health promotion event - which is always held the last Wednesday in May.

The HIRC staff will coordinate all Women's Health & Fitness Day host site registrations along with the sales and distribution of event incentive items and samples/information from our national and state/local event sponsors.

Banned Websites Awareness Day

To raise awareness of the overly restrictive blocking of legitimate, educational websites and academically useful social networking tools in schools and school libraries, AASL has designated one day during Banned Books Week as Banned Websites Awareness Day. On Wednesday, September 24, AASL is asking school librarians and other educators to promote an awareness of how overly restrictive filtering affects student learning.

Usually the public thinks of censorship in relation to books, however there is a growing censorship issue in schools and school libraries – overly restrictive filtering of educational websites reaching far beyond the requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Students, teachers, and school librarians in many schools are frustrated daily when they discover legitimate educational websites blocked by filtering software installed by their school.  

Filtering websites does the next generation of digital citizens a disservice.  Students must develop skills to evaluate information from all types of sources in multiple formats, including the Internet. Relying solely on filters does not teach young citizens how to be savvy searchers or how to evaluate the accuracy of information.

Over extensive filtering also extends to the use of online social networking sites such as FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogger, etc. In order to make school more relevant to students and enhance their learning experiences, educators need to be able to incorporate those same social interactions that are successful outside of school into authentic assignments in the school setting.  Unfortunately, filters implemented by school districts also block many of the social networking sites.