Monday, October 13, 2014

Holidays and Observances for October 13 2014

Columbus Day (Observed)

Columbus Day, which is annually on the second Monday of October, remembers Christopher Columbus' arrival to the Americas on October 12, 1492. This holiday is controversial because the European settlement in the Americas led to the demise of the history and culture of the indigenous peoples.

Officially, the people of the USA are invited to celebrate the anniversary of the discovery of their country with church services and other activities. In some towns and cities, special church services, parades and large events are held. Most celebrations are concentrated around the Italian-American community. The celebrations in New York and San Francisco are particularly noteworthy. In Hawaii Columbus Day is also known as Landing Day or Discoverer's Day.

Not all parts of the United States celebrate Columbus Day. It is not a public holiday in some states such as California, Oregon, Nevada and Hawaii. Moreover, Native Americans’ Day is celebrated in South Dakota, while Indigenous People’s Day is celebrated in Berkeley, California. 

Columbus day is a public holiday in many parts of the United states, but is not observed or is not a holiday in some states. Government offices are generally closed, but businesses may be open. Schools are not required to close and may decide to remain open or closed. People are advised to check with their school districts on Columbus Day school holiday closures. It is a legal observance in Florida.

Christopher Columbus is often portrayed as the first European to sail to the Americas. He is sometimes portrayed as the discoverer of the New World. However, this is controversial on many counts. There is evidence that the first Europeans to sail across the Atlantic were Viking explorers from Scandinavia. In addition, the land was already populated by indigenous peoples, who had 'discovered' the Americas thousands of years before.

Columbus Day originated as a celebration of Italian-American heritage and was first held in San Francisco in 1869. The first state-wide celebration was held in Colorado in 1907. In 1937, Columbus Day become a holiday across the United States. Since 1971, it has been celebrated on the second Monday in October. The date on which Columbus arrived in the Americas is also celebrated as the Día de la Raza (Day of the Race) in Latin America and some Latino communities in the USA. However, it is a controversial holiday in some countries and has been re-named in others.

Columbus Day celebrations are controversial because the settlement of Europeans in the Americas led to the deaths of a very large proportion of the native people. It has been argued that this was a direct result of Columbus' actions. It is clear that the arrival of the European settlers led to the demise of a large proportion of the history and culture of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. It has also been argued that Columbus should not be honored for discovering North America, as he only went as far as some islands in the Caribbean and never got as far as mainland America.

International African Penguin Awareness Day

Conservationist groups around the world will be celebrating International African Penguin Awareness Day on October 13th.

Most people do not know that the African penguin (spheniscus demersus) is the last remaining penguin species on the African continent.

Scientists have shown that others did exist eons ago, and it would seem that this raucous, much-loved “jackass” penguin proved to be tougher than the rest, claiming the southern tip of Africa as its own.

One cannot help but be entertained by this little bird in its black and white tuxedo – as conservationist Joe Moore states: “It is impossible to look at a penguin and remain angry.” We agree! And this may well be why hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to African penguin colonies along the Cape coastline every year. Spending hours marveling at these birds at Boulders Beach or Stony Point is sure to leave any onlooker with that warm and fuzzy feeling, which we try to share with our friends who could not make the journey with us.

When a species chooses a region of nature to inhabit this would imply that the selected habitat has shown itself to be most suitable to the animals’ needs. This must have been the case in order for the African penguin to settle and establish themselves in these popular colonies in Simonstown and Betty’s Bay.

Sadly the species is essentially holding on by a thread as you read this. It has been established by scientists that 50,000 unthreatened breeding pairs is what is required in order for the species to remain viable. The figures today show less than 40,000 remaining individuals propping up the population. Historical influences such as egg collecting for human consumption and guano scraping for fertilizer probably did the most damage.

Modern day concerns abound too with reduced food sources, oil spills and pollution as well as predation from wild animals, some of whose populations are thriving to the point of creating imbalances at the opposite end of the spectrum.

International Day for Failure

Maybe you already knew that October 13 was National Yorkshire Pudding Day and National Train Your Brain Day, but did you know that it’s also the International Day for Failure?

Started in Finland in 2010, the International Day for Failure is a new international holiday to rethink, share and learn from failure. This year the campaign has, perhaps ironically, been a big success and gone global with Day for Failure events in over 17 countries around the world, including Germany, Greece, Japan, South Korea, and Australia.

To be fair, Finland is hardly a failure. Just this week the Grant Thornton Global Dynamism Index , declared Finland the second best place on the planet to run a business (Singapore ranks first. The U.S., meanwhile, slipped to 10th).

The organizers of International Day for Failure are trying to create a cultural shift in how people think about risk-taking and entrepreneurship by acknowledging that not every endeavor is a success, however, it does open the door to the next great thing.

In Good Fail, Bad Fail: What Made Caterpillar And Unmade Enron, Fast Company looks at two business leaders and how they approached mistakes differently.
“Mistakes are part of taking healthy risk. They provide us with new ways of thinking and give us new insights into how we can improve as leaders. Real failure doesn't come from making mistakes; it comes from avoiding errors at all possible cost, from fear of taking risks to the inability to grow. Being mistake-free is not success—in fact, it's not even possible. Still, we often avoid risks and ignore (and sometimes even hide) our mistakes. We don't like to talk about our mistakes and bring attention to them. It feels safer to look the other way or sweep them under the rug. But doing so stifles growth and dooms us to repeat our mistakes--it's why so many have the same struggles over and over again.”
Without failing, you’re not living, according to this Seattle Post Intelligencer story which talks about a young lawyer who racked up a string of personal and professional failures before he became the 16th President of the United States.
But perhaps Chamber Executive Vice President and COO David Chavern said it best when he recently wrote:
The fact of the matter is that this nation was propelled forward by extraordinary people who were willing to do extraordinary things.  We should applaud the risk-takers and the dreamers who are willing to stand out from the crowd and create the wealth and prosperity that we all enjoy. “Rather than denigrate what these people have done, we need to encourage more people to be like them. 
International Skeptics Day

Non-believers, conspiracy theorists and Doubting Thomases will get a kick out of today’s holiday. Then again, maybe they won’t. But believe it or not, October 13 is International Skeptics Day. Or is it? While there is not enough concrete evidence about how or when this annual “holiday” began, International Skeptics Day is also celebrated on January 13th and/or the first Friday in January.

Skeptics are folks who doubt the truth and question the validity or authenticity of something most believe to be factual. For instance, some skeptics question the validity of global warming despite claims made by experts in the scientific community. Other skeptics do not believe we ever landed on the moon and the famous images of the moon landings are fakes.

Some refuse to believe President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald while others believe the late Princess Diana was murdered. And some wonder if Elvis faked his own death? And some people believe the horrendous terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, were part of a conspiracy. Whether you are a believer or a skeptic, check out Area 51 and the controversial incident that took place in Roswell, New Mexico back in 1947.

So, is it wise to automatically believe everything we are told or is it better to question? What do you think?

Websites for Skeptics - Hoaxes, Conspiracy Theories & Urban Legends
  • Mythbusters – If you downed Diet Coke and Mentos, would your stomach explode? If you ate a few poppy seed muffins, would you test positive on a drug test? Watch popular Mythbusters Jamie and Adam, prove or dispel popular myths in this Emmy-nominated television series on the Discovery Channel.
  • Comprised of scientists, scholars, historians, educators and investigative journalists, Skeptics provides “sound scientific viewpoint on claims of the paranormal, pseudoscience, fringe groups, cults and claims between: science, pseudoscience, junk science, voodoo science, pathological science, bad science, non science and plain old nonsense.”
  • Snopes is the place to go for information on urban legends, myths, rumors and folklore.
  • David Emery is the Guide to Urban Legends. He’ll share current hoaxes and legends and the classics too.
  • From historical “facts” and politics, to aliens, technology and celebs, Theories of Conspiracy runs the gamut when it comes to conspiracies.
  • With more than 244,000 members, Above Top Secret is the “largest and most popular discussion board” on a slew of topics including UFOs, paranormal, political scandals and more.
  • Created in 1994, the Skeptic’s Dictionary provides a look on a slew of topics including UFOs, paranormal, supernatural, alternative medicine and more. There is also a Skeptic’s Dictionary for Children too!
  • Infowars is a popular website from radio host, documentary maker and publisher, Alex Jones. You’ll find interviews, podcasts, forums, world news and special reports displayed like a traditional news site.
Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day is October 13th.

Metastatic breast cancer is when cancer makes its way through the blood stream or lymphatic system from the breast to distant organs in a woman’s body such as the brain, liver, lungs or in the bones. Under a microscope, the cancer in the new location will look similar to the original cancer in the breast, and it is still treated as breast cancer. Metastatic disease also is referred to as stage-four or advanced breast cancer.
Fortunately today, due to heightened awareness, regular screenings and self-exams, the majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer in the early stages are cured. A small number of women (5 to 9 percent) are diagnosed with advanced disease at the time of their initial breast cancer diagnosis. There are instances, however, when breast cancer returns in another location; this can be months or many years later. Symptoms of recurrence may include bone or joint pain, a cough that won’t go away, pain or weakness, changes in bowel and bladder function, loss of appetite or weight loss. 

Different kinds of tests can confirm whether the breast cancer has spread. These tests also will guide the treatment options that women and their oncologists discuss and agree upon. At this time, metastatic disease cannot be cured, but new treatments are prolonging lives far longer than any time in the past. The goal of treatment at this advanced stage is to keep the cancer under control for as long as possible, while maintaining the best quality of life for the woman.

Treatment options include chemotherapy, usually given directly into the blood to reach the cancer cells; hormonal therapy intended to slow or stop the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells; and targeted therapy, which attacks specific proteins or genes on the cancer cells which inhibit those cells ability to grow. Radiation therapy may be used to control the spreading of cancer. There also are many complementary medicine therapies such as acupuncture, massage, yoga and meditation, which may provide comfort and relief. These various therapies often are used in combination for the best effect. 

Clinical trials and research studies of new therapies make this an especially promising time for women with advanced breast cancer. There are an estimated 155,000 women living with metastatic breast cancer in the U.S. – they are in the workplace, at the grocery store, carpooling, traveling and living each day as a gift. They are experiencing new challenges and opportunities. They are learning to live with uncertainty; coping with a treatment regimen and its side effects; managing pain and fear; acknowledging not only their own emotions but those of loved ones; being able to receive help and love; and looking to end-of-life decisions while living gratefully in the moment.   

National Kick Butt Day

What goals have you yet to achieve? Have you been meaning to have an exercise routine, or to have a healthy diet? National Kick-Butt Day is a special day for that, to give yourself a little kick to improve and accomplish your goals. National Kick-Butt Day is celebrated every second Monday of October every year.

It is quite easy to interchange National Kick-Butt Day’s with the Kick-Butts Day. While National Kick-Butts Day is a day to give yourself a push for accomplishing goals, Kick-Butts Day is a campaign day to kick smoking habits off. The latter happens annually in March.

National Kick-Butt Day has no evident records of its origin. Still, on this day, everyone is encouraged to contemplate about their unmet goals, arrive at strategies to accomplish them and challenge themselves to actualize those goals.

Lately, success is often portrayed as something that is instant, something that can be achieved if you are at the right place and at the right time. However, that is not always the case. Success takes a combination of identifying attainable goals, evaluating strategies to achieve them and the perseverance to have them done.

Essentially, each of us has goals. Kick-butts Day is the day to make it your aim to achieve those goals, no matter how small. Zero-in on your goals and persevere in them. When you do these things, certainly you will have the best Kick-Butts Day!

Steps to have the Best National Kick-Butts Day
  1. Determine your goals. It can be rather easy to fall into the trap of setting our eyes on just about any goals. To avoid wasting time and resources, thoroughly examine yourself of your capabilities. Write down specific and achievable goals. This will help you identify which goals are appropriate for you.
  2. Choose and apply strategies. After determining your goals, ponder over these and research on the necessary strategies to achieve them. Having pondered and researched on these, apply these strategies.
  3. Stay motivated. Every now and then you will encounter setbacks and difficulties. Don’t lose heart! Evaluate your goals from time to time and focus on the reward. This will keep you inspired and it will help you to not give up easily.
  4. Have fun while doing it. Indeed there is some value in sustained effort. But keep everything in perspective and in balance. Don’t forget to enjoy while in the process.
National Yorkshire Pudding Day

Today is National Yorkshire Pudding Day! Yorkshire pudding is an iconic British pastry similar to a popover.

The origin of the Yorkshire pudding is, as yet, unknown. There are no cave drawings, hieroglyphics and so far, no-one has unearthed a Roman Yorkshire pudding dish buried beneath the streets of York. The puddings may have been brought to these shores by any of the invading armies across the centuries but unfortunately any evidence of this has yet to be discovered. 

The first ever recorded recipe appears in a book, The Whole Duty of a Woman in 1737 and listed as A Dripping Pudding - the dripping coming from spit-roast meat. 

'Make a good batter as for pancakes ; put in a hot toss-pan over the fire with a bit of butter to fry the bottom a little then put the pan and butter under a shoulder of mutton , instead of a dripping pan, keeping frequently shaking it by the handle and it will be light and savoury, and fit to take up when your mutton is enough; then turn it in a dish and serve it hot.' 

The next recorded recipe took the strange pudding from local delicacy to become the nation's favorite dish following publication in The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse in 1747. As one of the most famous food writers of the time, the popularity of the book spread the word of the Yorkshire Pudding. 'It is an exceeding good Pudding, the Gravy of the Meat eats well with it,' states Hannah. 

Take a quart of milk, four eggs, and a little salt, make it up into a thick batter with flour, like a pancake batter. You must have a good piece of meat at the fire, take a stew-pan and put some dripping in, set it on the fire, when it boils, pour in your pudding, let it bake on the fire till you think it is high enough, then turn a plate upside-down in the dripping-pan, that the dripping may not be blacked; set your stew-pan on it under your meat, and let the dripping drop on the pudding, and the heat of the fire come to it, to make it of a fine brown. When your meat is done and set to table, drain all the fat from your pudding, and set it on the fire again to dry a little; then slide it as dry as you can into a dish, melt some butter, and pour into a cup, and set in the middle of the pudding. It is an exceeding good pudding, the gravy of the meat eats well with it. 

Mrs Beeton may have been Britain's most famous food writer of the 19th century but her recipe omitted one of the fundamental rules for making Yorkshire pudding - the need for the hottest oven possible. The recipe was further wrong by stating to cook the pudding in advance before placing it under the meat an hour before needed. Yorkshire folk blame her error on her southern origins. 

Yorkshire Pudding is still a very popular dish in modern-day Britain, and often makes an appearance at big Sunday dinners. In fact, culinary historians refer to it as the national dish of England. To celebrate National Yorkshire Pudding Day, make a delicious homemade batch to enjoy with your family!

Silly Sayings Day

Don't get your dander up but it's time to spill the beans! October 13 is Silly Sayings Day, an annual "holiday" that celebrates silly sayings and phrases.

Like fashion, popular catch phrases, interesting expressions and witty sayings tend to come and go. While some of today's most popular phrases include a slew of easy-to-use acronyms like LOL, BFF and BRB, many popular phrases from days gone by are still used today. But have you ever really stopped to think what these sayings actually mean?

Take a peek at a few of the sayings below and try to figure out what these once popular phrases actually mean. Give it a go and take your best shot!

Silly Sayings and Phrases
  • It's raining cats and dogs
  • Look what the cat dragged in
  • The cat's pajamas
  • The cat's meow
  • Cat got your tongue?
  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
  • Bats in the belfry
  • A dog is a man's best friend
  • Hair of the dog that bit you
  • Bark up the wrong tree
  • Barking mad
  • Your chickens will come home to roost
  • Dont count your chickens before they hatch
  • High on the hog
  • Knee high to a grasshopper
  • Bee's knees
  • Fly in the ointment
  • Snug as a bug in a rug
  • Like a bull in a china shop
  • Get your goat
  • Get off your high horse
  • Straight from the horses mouth
  • Don't look a gift horse in the mouth
  • Horse feathers
  • Chew the cud
  • You can lead a jackass to water, but you can't make him drink!
  • Long in the tooth
  • Go berserk
  • Off your rocker
  • Mind your Ps and Qs
  • Loose lips sink ships
  • Caught red-handed
  • Look before you leap
  • Tickled pink
  • Tickle my fancy
  • Funny bone
  • Skip to my Lou
  • For Pete's sake (who is Pete?)
  • Heavens to Betsy (who is Betsy?)
  • Heaven forbid
  • To hell in a hand basket
  • The jig is up
  • Face the music
  • Get your dander up
  • Fly by the seat of your pants
  • Head over heels
  • Beat around the bush
  • An empty gun makes the loudest bang!
  • Bite the bullet
  • Dead ringer
  • The sky's the limit
  • Straighten up
  • Kick the bucket
  • A drop in the bucket
  • Don't spill the beans
  • Slower than molasses in January
  • Fancy pants
  • A good man is hard to find
  • Hanky panky
  • Three sheets to the wind
  • Sticky wicket
  • Elbow grease
  • Old fogey
  • Hissy fit
  • Alive and kicking
  • Dead as a doornail
  • Where there is a will, there is a way
  • Always a bridesmaid, never a bride
  • Holy cow
  • Holy Toledo
  • Holy smokes
  • Jeepers creepers
  • Rise and shine
  • My stars
  • Come in if your nose is clean
  • That's the berries!
  • Hell bent
  • Don't get your dander up
  • On cloud nine
  • On the wagon
  • Once in a blue moon
  • Go to pot
  • Golly
  • Gee wiz
  • Gee Willikers
  • Dadgum it
The US Navy's Birthday

The Chief of Naval Operations has stated that the Navy Birthday is one of the two Navy-wide dates to be celebrated annually. This page provides historical information on the birth and early years of the Navy, including bibliographies, lists of the ships, and information on the first officers of the Continental Navy, as well as texts of original documents relating to Congress and the Continental Navy, 1775-1783.

The United States Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which the Continental Congress established on 13 October 1775, by authorizing the procurement, fitting out, manning, and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America. The legislation also established a Naval Committee to supervise the work. All together, the Continental Navy numbered some fifty ships over the course of the war, with approximately twenty warships active at its maximum strength.

After the American War for Independence, Congress sold the surviving ships of the Continental Navy and released the seamen and officers. The Constitution of the United States, ratified in 1789, empowered Congress "to provide and maintain a navy." Acting on this authority, Congress ordered the construction and manning of six frigates in 1794, and the War Department administered naval affairs from that year until Congress established the Department of the Navy on 30 April 1798.

Not to be confused with the Navy Birthday or the founding of the Navy Department is Navy Day. The Navy League sponsored the first national observance of Navy Day in 1922 designed to give recognition to the naval service. The Navy League of New York proposed that the official observance be on 27 October in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt, who had been born on that day.

In 1972 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt authorized recognition of 13 October as the Navys birthday. In contrast to Navy Day, the Navy Birthday is intended as an internal activity for members of the active forces and reserves, as well as retirees, and dependents. Since 1972 each CNO has encouraged a Navy-wide celebration of this occasion "to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service."

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