Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Holidays and Observances for October 8 2014

Alvin C. York Day

Today is the commemoration of a heroic deed during World War I.

Alvin C. York had been born in a two-room cabin in Tennessee, back in 1887. He didn't want to fight in the war because of his strong religious views, but he was drafted into the army anyway. He discussed with his commanders how conflicted he felt between his religion's pacifist stance and his training in the army. Eventually he decided that, in this war at least, he should fight and even kill...if he had to. And, sadly, he had to.

On this date in 1918, the battalion that York belonged was sent to capture a German position along a railway in France. However, the Germans were safely tucked into a “machine gun nest” on the hill and were killing American soldiers right and left. So a small group of soldiers, including York, were sent to work their way behind German lines and take out those machine guns.

At first the small expedition was a success, and the American soldiers captured a large group of German soldiers. Then came the counter-attack; the German machine guns peppered the area, killing and injuring nine of the U.S. soldiers.

Suddenly, York was the highest ranking soldier still he was now in charge of the other seven remaining troops.

The seven guarded the prisoners while York took on the German soldiers manning the machine guns. All by himself.

Apparently, York was an excellent shot. He took a sniper position and shot 17 of the 30 or so German gunners. Finally the Germans realized that they were facing just one man, so six or seven (accounts differ) German soldiers rushed at York with their bayonets. They may have realized that York was out of rifle ammunition.

But York had a pistol, and he drew that and was able to kill all 6 – 7 German soldiers before they reached him!

The German commander facing York emptied his own pistol trying to kill the American sharp-shooter, but he didn't even injure York. So he called out in English and surrendered. York and the seven U.S. soldiers he led were able to march out 132 German prisoners and 32 German machine guns.

As heroic as this story is, of course, it is also completely tragic that so many young men—the Germans as well as the Americans—died “for their country.” York never wanted to kill—even when he felt he had to. He wrote that, all the while that he was proving his excellent marksmanship:
“I kept yelling at them to come down. I didn't want to kill any more than I had to. But it was they or I. And I was giving them the best I had.”
York got a lot of fame, the Medal of Honor, and some offers of fortune for his amazing feat. He turned down the offers of money for appearances, newspaper articles, and movie rights to his life story. He turned down cash for appearing in advertisements. Instead, he lent his name to charitable causes and campaigned successfully to get a road built to the region of Tennessee where he was born.

(York did accept the gift of a farm, but he ended up losing a lot of money when people reneged on their promises at the same time that there was a farming depression.)

York cooperated with journalists, publishers, and eventually even Hollywood to bring his story to America, but it seems that most or all of his earnings went to charities and schools.

American Touch Tag Day

American Touch Tag Day is observed on October 8th. Touch Tag is a playground game that involves one or more players chasing other players in an attempt to "tag" or touch them, usually with their hand. There are many variations; most forms have no teams, scores, or equipment.

A group of players decide who is going to be "it", often using a counting-out game such as eeny, meeny, miny, moe. The player selected to be "it" then chases the others, attempting to get close enough to tag them - touching them with a hand - while the others try to escape. A tag makes the tagged player "it" - in some variations, the previous "it" is no longer "it" and the game can continue indefinitely, while in others, both players remain "it" and the game ends when all players have become "it".

Tag and other chasing games have been banned in some schools in the United States and United Kingdom due to concerns about injuries and complaints from children of harassment. A principal who banned tag in their school criticized the game for creating a "self-esteem issue" in nominating one child as a victim, and noted that the oldest and biggest children usually dominated the game.

Emergency Nurses Day

Each year on the second Wednesday in October we take this day to say “thank you” to the emergency room nurses for their hard work, dedication, service and commitment to their patients and families and their loyalty to the emergency nursing profession.

Promoted and sponsored by the Emergency Nurses Association and having originated in Australia back in 1989, Emergency Nurses Day is now an international celebration, intended to honour the hard work and dedication of emergency nurses all around the world.

Why do emergency nurses warrant special appreciation? Well, quite simply, because they make a huge difference to sick, injured and even dying people every single day, offering vital assistance and support.

Nursing as a profession requires a special level of compassion and nurses working in hospital emergency wards face numerous difficulties during their working life, yet still return every day to provide crucial care for those who need it the most.

A special focus is placed on Emergency Nurses Day, which forms one part of a wider celebration, called Emergency Nurses Week. Various events are held around the world, in order to give thanks and show support for those who choose to work in this essential profession.

International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction is annually observed on the second Wednesday of October to raise the profile of disaster risk reduction. It also encourages people and governments to participate in building more resilient communities and nations.

Activities for the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction usually include media announcements about launches for campaigns that center on the day's theme. Governments and communities also take part in the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction through various events such as drawing, drama, essay or photography competitions that focus on making people aware of natural disaster reduction and increasing their preparedness for such situations. Other activities include: community tree planting; conferences, fairs and seminars; and street parades.

Many people around the world have lost their lives, homes or access to essential facilities, such as hospitals, due to natural disasters, including earthquakes, droughts, tsunamis, heavy flooding, hurricanes or cyclones. Some of these disasters have caused economic damage to some countries. The UN acknowledges that education, training, and information exchanges are effective ways to help people become better equipped in withstanding natural disasters.

On December 22, 1989, the UN General Assembly designated the second Wednesday of October as the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction. This event was to be observed annually during the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, 1990-1999. On December 20, 2001, the assembly decided to maintain the observance to promote a global culture of natural disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness.

The UN logo is often associated with marketing and promotional material for this event. It features a projection of a world map (less Antarctica) centered on the North Pole, inscribed in a wreath consisting of crossed conventionalized branches of the olive tree. The olive branches symbolize peace and the world map depicts the area of concern to the UN in achieving its main purpose, peace and security. The projection of the map extends to 60 degrees south latitude, and includes five concentric circles.

International Top Spinning Day

Wednesday, October 8th: Bring back your childhood. Today is International Top Spinning Day. Go ahead, take some time off and celebrate a youthful joy. Pull one out and spin it.

It appears that man has always been fascinated with the top. He has the power to spin it and somehow defy gravity by its ability to stand upright on its point, as if magically. It has also become evident that as is true for other items created or invented by man which are found in nature, there is no one point in time where the top can be said to have been invented. It was discovered, or invented, almost simultaneously and most definitely, independently, in many different areas of the world. So, unfortunately, we cannot give definitive credit for the invention of the top to any one person, one culture or even to one geographical area.

Definition. Webster’s dictionary defines the top as "a child’s toy shaped somewhat like an inverted cone, with a point at its apex upon which it is spun, usually by unwinding a string." This definition is somewhat limited, as many references throughout history tell of tops also in reference to adults and some of which have no relation to a string. For example, even in primitive Malay, top spinning was an organized adult sport, with tops weighing up to 15 pounds. In Borneo and Java, the handicraft of tops limited them to adult use by their sheer size and weight. Pacific Islanders also had spiritual meanings to the top. In medieval times, there existed a parish top, frequently in the town square, for all to use. In countries such as Japan and China, jugglers and top-spinners are respected adult public entertainers. The most common concept of a top is a spinning object supported at one point only. A gyroscope, however, is a top and has an axle supported at two points, while the motion of a bullet from a gun is like that of a top although there is no point of support at all. It appears then, that a better definition would be simply objects that spin on a major axis.

The top is most likely to have been invented and re-invented many times by different cultures, completely independent of one another. As concluded by D.W. Gould in his book ,The Top-Universal Toy, Enduring Pastime, if it had been easy to disperse information about a simple object such as a top across different continents, there would be evidence of inventions more critical to man’s survival being passed among them as well, but there is not. Tops have been found on all continents except Antarctica. Although its use appears to have been for "play", its introduction was most likely noticed in nature or through survival techniques developed and recognized in many areas of the world.

The most natural top is found in the simple acorn. Likewise, maple seeds, with their mesmerizing spin through the air could easily inspire the invention. A shell, as shown here, is also a natural found top and most certainly was discovered in areas, which had them available. The Japanese game, named "bai" or "bei" shows a shell used for the top and where the physics of spinning objects was explored by filling a shell with wax or sand in order to increase the top’s weight.

Fire-starters, or file drills, found in many primitive cultures, using the rotation of a pointed object to produce fire, could likely have given rise to the spinning top. Another device, a whorl, is defined in Webster today as "a flywheel on a spindle for regulating the speed of a spinning wheel." Forms of spindle-whorls were found by archeologists in a number of sites such as Troy (Turkey) and pre-Columbian Peru, and were used to gather and separate fibers. These ancient whorls could have easily been modified by adding a disc to evolve naturally into a twirler top (defined later). Examples of tops made by natives of the Torres Straits (Pacific Islands) supports this development theory. Most primitive twirlers were likely to have been a seed, fruit or nut with a thorn or stick spiked through them.

The Top Museum sponsors this topsy-turvy day. Their goal is to get 10,000 or more top spins going today, by different people, using different tops and in unusual places. Let’s help them out. Go ahead, give it a spin!

National Bring Your Teddy Bear To Work & School Day

Each year on the second Wednesday in October, it is National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work & School Day.

National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work & School Day is a day to bring your teddy bear to work & school to hang with you for the day. Many people blogging about this holiday have taken pictures of their teddy bear in work attire and doing work related activities -- like typing on the keyboard, talking on the phone, etc. Have fun with it!

There are a couple of different dates that have been given for this holiday; namely, October 11th and the second Tuesday of October. In our research, we've found the most support for the second Wednesday in October. Also, this would make more sense than the fixed date of October 11th as the Wednesday date would ensure that this holiday always falls on a weekday.

National Fluffernutter Day

Today is National Fluffernutter Day! A Fluffernutter is a yummy sandwich made with bread, peanut butter, and marshmallow fluff. It is now a classic American treat enjoyed in school cafeterias, college dorms, and local diners nationwide.

Marshmallow candy can be traced back to ancient Egypt when people first began to harvest the marshmallow plant (Althaea officinalis). During the 19th century, French pharmacists extracted the juice from marshmallow plants and heated it with egg whites and sugar, creating a marshmallow cream.

Marshmallow creme, one of the two main ingredients of a Fluffernutter, was invented in the early 20th century. Archibald Query invented a creation he called Marshmallow Creme in Somerville, Massachusetts, in 1917, while Amory and Emma Curtis of Melrose, Massachusetts, invented Snowflake Marshmallow Creme in 1913. During World War I, Emma Curtis published a recipe for the Liberty Sandwich, which consisted of peanut butter and Snowflake Marshmallow Creme on oat or barley bread. The recipe was published in a promotional booklet sent to Curtis' customers in 1918 and may be the origin of the Fluffernutter sandwich. Earlier labels and booklets published by the Curtises suggested combining Snow Flake Marshmallow Creme with peanut butter or eating it on sandwiches with chopped nuts or olives.

Meanwhile, sugar shortages during World War I hurt sales of Archibald Query's Marshmallow Creme, so Query sold his recipe in 1920 to two men fromSwampscott, Massachusetts, H. Allen Durkee and Fred L. Mower, who began distributing the product through their company, Durkee-Mower Inc. The pair renamed the product Toot Sweet Marshmallow Fluff, and Durkee-Mower continues to sell the product under the name Marshmallow Fluff. The sandwich made with peanut butter and marshmallow creme continued to be eaten, but was not called a Fluffernutter until 1960, when an advertising firm Durkee-Mower hired created the term as a more effective way to market the sandwich. Fluffernutter is a registered trademark of Durkee-Mower, although the company's U.S. trademark registrations for the term cover only ice cream and printed recipes. In 2006, Durkee-Mower sued Williams-Sonoma Inc. in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, alleging that Williams-Sonoma infringed on its trademark by selling a marshmallow and peanut butter chocolate-covered candy under the Fluffernutter name.

In June 2006, Massachusetts State Senator Jarrett Barrios gained national attention when he proposed legislation restricting the serving of Fluffernutter sandwiches in public schools. After Barrios learned that his son was served Fluffernutters on a daily basis at his Cambridge, Massachusetts, public elementary school, he created an amendment to a junk food bill that aimed to limit the serving of Fluffernutters in Massachusetts public schools to once a week. The proposal was criticized as an example of trivial and overly intrusive legislation, while Barrios' supporters pointed to concerns over the problem of childhood obesity. Among the people who defended the Fluffernutter at the time was Massachusetts State Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein, whose district inRevere was close to Lynn, where Marshmallow Fluff is made. She claimed she planned to "fight to the death for Fluff" and supported legislation that would make the Fluffernutter the official state sandwich. The measure failed, and Reinstein tried again unsuccessfully in 2009. Supporters of the bill cited the sandwich's close association with childhood and Massachusetts.
How will you celebrate National Fluffernutter Day? Eating a Fluffernutter sandwich is a great way to start!

National Pierogi Day

Today is the day that pierogi lovers across the nation have been waiting for, it is National Pierogi Day. This holiday is celebrated each year on October 8.

Pierogies are Eastern Europe’s equivalent of ravioli or tortellini - essentially filled dumplings. This peasant dish originated in Poland in the 13th century, and hasn’t changed much since.

Let’s start with the name, just to clear things up. You’ll probably see it spelled pierogi, pirohgi, pierogie or any combination thereof. Merriam-Webster spells it pierogi, which is also the internationally accepted standard spelling. Pierogi is actually the plural of pierog, so saying pierogies is a little redundant but socially accepted.

Now for the dough. Back in the day, the dough was made simply with flour and water. These days, some dough recipes use eggs, and sometimes even sour cream. The dough is rolled out and cut into circles. The circles are filled and then sealed and boiled. After boiling, they may be pan sautéed or fried for some texture and color.

As for the filling, traditional pierogies feature mashed potato, cheese, sauerkraut, fried onions, meat or mushrooms, but the sky’s the limit on this. There are also different fillings to celebrate different holidays and times of year. If you’re making pierogies at home, make sure they're sealed well so you don’t lose the filling during the cooking process.

Typically pierogies are served hot, often with a sour cream dipping sauce, fried onions and applesauce. Dessert pierogies may be filled with fruit, chocolate or sweet cheese.

Want to try your hand at a batch at home? Look no further than pierogi enthusiast Martha Stewart who claims them as her favorite food.

National Pet Obesity Awareness Day

We humans spend a lot of time fretting over our own, and one another’s, weight, going to drastic measures to prevent or fight obesity, but what about our beloved pets? Believe it or not, animals suffer greatly as a result of obesity too. Not only does it drastically impact their general health, it also reduces their overall quality of life, often interfering with daily activities and their enjoyment of things like walking and playing ball. It is difficult to deny our furry companions of the food they constantly beg for, and seeing the delight on their faces when they are given treats and scraps from lunch or dinner is one of the greatest things about having a pet. But doing this regularly is doing more harm than good.

To raise awareness about this issue and promote healthier diets for our pets, many animal lovers get together one day a year to celebrate Pet Obesity Awareness Day. Veterinarians often lead the events where owners are encouraged to bring their dogs and cats along to receive complimentary health examination and screening. They can then receive advice, tips and nutrition plans from professionals in the field to help them reduce the weight of the dog or cat and stop the problem escalating further tailored to their pets’ requirements.

Most of the nation’s pets are overweight, and a majority of their owners are blind to the issue. New research, released by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), tells an alarming story. Veterinarians who assessed pets for the recent study recognized that more than half are overweight or obese. Cats carry the largest share of the obesity burden with 57.6 percent of the population recorded as overweight or obese. The dog population is close behind, with 52.6 percent of canines being classified as weighing too much.

“Among all diseases that perplex the veterinary community and plague our population of pets, obesity has the greatest collective negative impact on pet health, and yet it is almost completely avoidable,” said Dr. Ernie Ward, veterinarian and founder of APOP. “The pet industry is mighty and well-meaning, but it’s time we stop accepting the status quo. We must start working together to fight obesity through knowledge and action.”

S.A.V.E. (Stop America's Violence Everywhere)

The SAVE program was launched by the AMA Alliance in 1995 to Stop America's Violence Everywhere. As part of SAVE, state and county Alliances provide schoolchildren, battered women and their families, and homeless families with financial and emotional support and simple, effective lessons in conflict resolution. Included under the SAVE umbrella are two paths of action: SAVE-A-Shelter and SAVE Schools from Violence.

In 1996, in partnership with the AMA, the AMA Alliance introduced SAVE-A-Shelter to provide much-needed support for domestic violence shelters across the country. State and county Alliances plan fund-raisers; supply toiletries, sheets, pajamas and over-the-counter medications; make physical improvements to the shelters; and teach conflict resolution skills to families living in the shelters.

As the number of school shootings began to rise in 1999, Alliance leaders felt compelled to add school violence as a primary focus for SAVE. Through SAVE Schools from Violence, Alliances take the same conflict resolution activities they use in shelters into the schools. SAVE Schools from Violence has intensified the efforts of Alliance members, who have "adopted" schools nationwide.

Although the SAVE campaign is a year-round effort, the AMA Alliance celebrates SAVE Today on the second Wednesday of October. SAVE Today serves as a day when physicians' spouses across the country work together to reduce violence. In addition, it helps unify the efforts of state and county Alliances. Many Alliances use SAVE Today to kick-off new elements of their SAVE projects, such as working with a new school or a new age group.

In March 2004, 2003-2004 AMA Alliance President Gay Bowman joined U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) Administrator Betty James Duke and 2003 Miss America Erika Harold in Washington, D.C., to launch the "Take a Stand. Lend a Hand. Stop Bullying Now!" campaign, which is designed to educate more Americans about how to prevent bullying and youth violence. Carolyn Plested, the 2003-2004 AMA Alliance health promotions chair, served on the campaign's Health & Safety Implementation Working Group.

National Stop Bullying Day

National Stop Bullying Day is the second Wednesday of every October as deemed by eighteen sixth grade students in 2009 from St. Stanislaus Kostka School in Michigan City, Indiana. They also deemed October to be National Stop Bullying Month, the second week of October to be National Stop Bullying Week and the third week of October as Bullying Bystanders Unite week. All as opportunities for students across the globe to create an environment of respect, acceptance and inclusion in their schools.

This group of students are the founding members of Hey U.G.L.Y.'s Stop Bullying Task Force which was designed because of a bullying situation in their school. The students wanted to eradicate the bullying and act as an example to other schools across the country.

Hey U.G.L.Y., founded in 2002, is a nonprofit organization that empowers youth to be part of the solution to bullying, substance abuse and youth suicide. U.G.L.Y. is an acronym meaning Unique Gifted Lovable You and serves as a reminder to turn negative self-talk and situations into positives.

The Stop Bullying Task Force program helped the students uncover and deeply understand the dynamics and many layers of bullying. They also learned how to protect themselves, and others, from the lasting effects of bullying, while understanding how to curb their own personal bullying behaviors. It gave them the tools and courage to be part of the solution!

The main part of the program had them delve into the many aspects of bullying like ... Why do bullies bully? Who do bullies bully? What are the various ways bullies bully? How does being bullied make you feel? Would you forgive a bully? and more. They then interact in various peer-to-peer self-esteem and empathy-building exercises and skits. Once they complete the program they are given the honor of teaching what they learned to younger students in their school. They are also authorized to conduct school-wide art projects and assemblies to share their wisdom and advice through skits and essays. When there is a bullying situation at their school, the bullying parties not only have to see the principal but also a member of the Stop Bullying Task Force. Knowing you will be judged by your peers has been proven to be a deterrent.

In 2010 the program was turned into a workbook for students called Stop Bullying Handbook and into a curriculum for schools. It was the hopes of the founding task force that students at all schools across the world set up student run stop bullying task forces in October to help keep their schools safe. One facilitator reported her students being able to thwart two bullying situations within hours of completing the program, while another called it transformational.

International Walk To School Day

International Walk to School Day is a global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school on the same day. It began in 1997 as a one-day event. Over time, this event has become part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school and a celebration – with record breaking participation – each October. Today, thousands of schools across America – from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – participate every October.

Organized by the Partnership for a Walkable America, Walk to School Day in the USA began in 1997 as a one-day event aimed at building awareness for the need for walkable communities.  In 2000, the event became international when the UK and Canada (both of which had already been promoting walking to school) and the USA joined together for the first International Walk to School Day. Growing interest in participation all over the world led the International Walk to School Committee to shifts its promotion to International Walk to School Month for the entire month of October.

In the USA and Canada, International Walk to School Day galvanizes visibility for walking and bicycling to school. Over time, this event has been part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school and a celebration – with record breaking participation - each October. Today, thousands of schools across America and in more than 40 countries worldwide celebrate walking to school every October.

The success of Walk to School Day, as well as continued interest in bicycling to school, created a desire for a national event focused on bicycling to school. This goal became reality in 2012, when the first National Bike to School Day took place on May 9, in coordination with the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Month.

Although Walk to School Day is focused more on walking and Bike to School Day is focused more on bicycling, both days welcome and encourage all forms of active transportation to school.

World Octopus Day

As the name suggests, World Octopus Day celebrates one of the most distinctive creatures living on the planet today; the octopus.

Octopuses are worthy of appreciation for a number of reasons. First of all, they are one of earth’s great survivors. Indeed, despite their relatively short life span, octopus fossils date back more than 300 million years, meaning that they pre-date even dinosaurs. They are also highly intelligent, with around 500 million neurons located in their brains and arms, allowing them to bypass their insticts, learn lessons and solve problems.

In addition, they are visually stunning, coming in various different colours and shapes, while the Giant Pacific Octopus is able to grow to weigh more than 600 pounds!

So how should you celebrate World Octopus Day? How about a trip to a sea life centre? Alternatively, put aside a small section of your day to simply learn more about these fascinating creatures.

A cephalopod is any member of the molluscan class Cephalopoda. These exclusively marine animals are characterized by bilateral body symmetry, a prominent head, and a set of arms or tentacles (muscular hydrostats) modified from the primitive molluscan foot. Fishermen sometimes call them inkfish, referring to their common ability to squirt ink. The study of cephalopods is a branch of malacology known as teuthology.

Cephalopods became dominant during the Ordovician period, represented by primitive nautiloids. The class now contains two, only distantly related, extant subclasses: Coleoidea, which includes octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish; and Nautiloidea, represented by Nautilus and Allonautilus. In the Coleoidea, the molluscan shell has been internalized or is absent, whereas in the Nautiloidea, the external shell remains. About 800 living species of cephalopods have been identified. Two important extinct taxa are the Ammonoidea (ammonites) and Belemnoidea (belemnites).