Thursday, October 9, 2014

Holidays and Observances for October 9 2014

Curious Events Day

What is the world’s greatest mystery? How one can become famous for being famous? How the empty milk carton is presumed to live in the fridge? What cats actually do all day? The latter one is fun to investigate with a camera on a collar, for any curious cat owners out there. Hopefully you won’t find out that curiosity really does kill the cat.

Curious Events Day celebrates the great mysteries of the world, possibly even greater ones than the ones I've already listed above. Does the Loch Ness Monster exist? How are crop circles made? Is the world really run by a reptilian elite race?

Celebrate the day by pondering upon whatever makes you curious. It might be a big issue or it might be a small issue. Let’s hope it’s something more fun that discovering the source of the empty milk carton!

10 of the World's Most Mysterious Mysteries

  1. Bermuda Triangle - Many ships and airplanes have mysteriously disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle, an area of ocean located between Miami, Puerto Rico and Bermuda. Besides the countless ships and planes that have vanished over the years, an entire squadron of 5 Navy Avengers disappeared over the Bermuda Triangle on December 5, 1945.
  2. Pyramids – Without modern technologies, how were these massive ancient structures built?
  3. Stonehenge – This ancient site, touted as one of the world’s most impressive prehistoric monuments, is located in Wiltshire, England. While no one really knows why or how these large standing stones were erected without modern day technology, it is estimated 1 million people visit the site each year. Some speculate Stonehenge was an ancient burial ground, while others believe it’s a landing space for aliens. Some believe it’s a fertility symbol while others believe the monument has to do with the sun and the moon and astronomical events.
  4. Roswell UFO Incident - Whether you believe in little green men or not, what happened in Roswell, New Mexico, back in 1947, continues to be a great mystery.
  5. Crop Circles – 10,000 of these mysterious circles have been created in fields of corn, wheat or barley. Usually created in the overnight hours, some crop circles are simple circles while others are magnificent works of art designed in fields of grain! Could it be aliens creating these mysterious and magical designs? Could wind and/or rain be responsible? Could earth’s electromagnetic radiation or aircraft downdrafts cause the circles? Or is it a world-wide hoax carried out by crafty circlemakers?
  6. Loch Ness Monster – When it comes to monsters, the Legend of Nessie takes the cake! The Loch Ness is a lake located in Scotland. Nessie has been described as a dragon, pre-historic animal, monster fish and/or sea serpent lurking in the Loch. After spending nearly 30 years searching for Nessie, George Edwards spotted Nessie earlier this year and has the pictures to prove Nessie is much more than a legend.
  7. Bigfoot – Bigfoot is another one of the world's most legendary creatures. Able to run up to 30 miles per hour, the mysterious Sasquatch is estimated to be between 7 and 10 feet tall and weighs between 400 to 1000 pounds. Hair, not fur, covers the primate’s body. Fact or fiction?
  8. John F. Kennedy Assassination – November 22, 1963, marked one of the darkest days in American history. United States President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. Despite the Warren Commission’s findings that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman, Oswald maintained he was just a “patsy” and was shot at point blank range while in police custody. Despite the 5 million pages of assassination documentation, photographs, recordings and videos including the famous Zapruder film, many believe this tragic event was a conspiracy.
  9. Amelia Earhart - Female aviation pioneer, Amelia Earhart, disappeared without a trace decades ago. After departing from New Guinea en route to Howland Island on July 2, 1937, Earhart and her navigator, Frederick Noonan, simply vanished into thin air. Various artifacts may suggest the two may have landed on a remote island before dying.
  10. Jimmy Hoffa – On July 30, 1975, International Brotherhood of Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa disappeared without a trace. 7 years after he disappeared, he was declared legally dead. Authorities have been digging up all sorts of things looking for clues. Just a few weeks ago, investigators dug up a driveway in Michigan looking for Hoffa.

Fire Prevention Day

Fire Prevention Day takes place on October 9th. It commemorates the Great Chicago Fire. The Great Chicago Fire was a conflagration that burned from October 8, to early October 10, 1871, killing hundreds and destroying about 3.3 square miles (9 km²) in Chicago, Illinois.

The traditional account of the origin of the fire is that it was started by a cow kicking over a lantern in the barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O'Leary. In 1893, Michael Ahern, the Chicago Republican reporter who wrote the O'Leary account, admitted he had made it up as colorful copy. The barn was the first building to be consumed by the fire, but the official report could not determine the exact cause.

On the 40th anniversary (1911) of the Great Chicago Fire, the Fire Marshals Association of North America (FMANA); the oldest membership section of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), sponsored the first National Fire Prevention Day, deciding to observe the anniversary as a way to keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention.

In May 1919, when the NFPA held its 23rd annual meeting in Ottawa at the invitation of the Dominion Fire Prevention Association (DFPA), the NFPA and DFPA both passed resolutions urging governments in the United States and Canada to support the campaign for a common Fire Prevention Day.

Leif Erikson Day

Leif Erikson Day honors a viking explorer known as Leif Erikson. He is believed to be the first recorded Nordic person to have visited North America. It is believed that he visited places such as Baffin Island and Labrador around 1000 CE.

The president of the United States issues a proclamation about the holiday. Many US presidents have, in the past, publicly praised the spirit of exploration and discovery, as well the contributions of people with a Nordic background and their culture.

Leif Erikson was born of Norwegian descent around 970 CE in Iceland. It is thought that his father and grandfather were outlaws and explorers around Scandinavia and Greenland. His father founded two settlements in Greenland. Leif had two brothers and one sister. He married a woman named Thorgunna and they had one son, called Thorkell Leifsson.

Leif Erikson went to Norway to work for King Olaf I of Norway. During his stay, he converted to Christianity. When he returned to Island, he bought a boat and, in 1003, set out to explore the land west of Greenland that had been discovered by Bjarni Herjolfsson, and older explorer. The land that he had discovered was actually Newfoundland, which is now part of Canada. The 'Saga of the Greenlanders' tells of his adventures.

It is thought that he visited Baffin Island and Labrador and settled on the Northern part of the island of Newfoundland, now all part of Canada. There are speculations that Leif Erikson or later explorers may have traveled into the area that is now Minnesota in the United States. Some controversial archaeological finds, such as the Kensington Runestone and the Maine Penny, support this theory, but it is not considered proven.

October 9 was chosen because it is the anniversary of the day that the ship Restauration arrived in New York from Stavanger, Norway on October 9, 1825. This was the start of organized immigration from Scandinavia to the USA. The date is not associated with an event in Leif Erikson's life.

National Moldy Cheese Day

Hip hip hooray - October 9th is National Moldy Cheese Day! While the thought of moldy cheese may not be too appetizing, this annual “holiday” can be celebrated two totally different ways. Happy Moldy Cheese Day:  Pass the Cheese, Please!

National Moldy Cheese Day serves as a reminder to take a peek at what’s lurking in your refrigerator. It’s time to check your cheese! Who wants to bite into a piece of moldy cheese during a midnight fridge raid?

You can also celebrate this cheesy day by enjoying a slice or two of blue (bleu) cheese in all its moldy glory! Penicillum roqueforti or Penicillum glaucum are what causes those lovely bluish-greenish hues in blue cheese. According to Britannica, Penicillum roqueforti and P. glaucum are actually added to the milk or curds prior to pressing and are “activated” by air. Tiny holes are then punched into the cheese which allows the mold spores to grow and spread.

Cheesy Facts

  • It is believed cheese was made before 6000 B.C.
  • Americans consumed about 11 pounds of cheese per person back in 1970 and demand for cheese continues to “grow.”
  • In 2003, Americans consumed 31 pounds of cheese per person, according to the Economics of Food, Farming, Natural Resources and Rural America!
  • While United States is the world’s top producer of cheese, Greece and France are the leaders in cheese consumption per capita. Folks in Greece gobble up about 63 pounds of cheese per year while the French eat about 54 pounds. Now that's a lotta cheese!
  • And what is America’s favorite cheese? Mozzarella, of course!

Whether you prefer Cheddar, American, Swiss, Brie, Blue or Provolone, Americans love cheese! Pass the cheese, please!

Submarine-Hoagie-Hero-Grinder Day

Who knew that coming up with a name for a sandwich could be so complicated? Today, October 9, 2012 we celebrate National Submarine-Hoagie-Hero-Grinder Day

It's good that they put all four names for the awesomest sandwich on the planet in the name of this holiday because no matter what you call it, there are so many different ways to make a sub-hoagie-hero-grinder, you can celebrate this deli sandwich however you like! At Grecian Delight Foods we think creating your favorite should also include flatbread, focaccia to be precise.

We all know the origin story of sandwiches: the 18th-century Earl of Sandwich, a wise man named John, started asking his staff to serve him meat bookended with bread to make for quick meals. Rumors persist that he did this to facilitate all-day gambling sessions, but his modern-day ancestors insist he was just a busy guy.

But for Super Bowl weekend, we don’t just care about plain old sandwiches. We want foot-long (or six-foot-long) meat- and cheese-stuffed flavor bombs, those super-sandwiches we call “subs.” Or “hoagies,” or “grinders,” or “po’ boys,” or “spuckies,” or, if you’re from Yonkers, “wedges.” It’s just one genre of sandwich, really, so why all the names, and where did they come from?

Well, back before big brands and big chains steamrolled “local color” into variations on beige, there was room for every American city to come up with its own name for a full-loaf sandwich filled with cold cuts, and most areas with large Italian immigrant populations did just that. While some of the names’ origins are pretty basic, myths have swarmed to these sandwiches like flies on honey–so here, in no particular order, are the facts and fictions of our favorite sandwich’s names:

Sub: An abbreviation of “submarine sandwich,” subs are called “subs” because they look like submarines. Simple as that.

But the best myth puts the ground zero of subbery in New London, CT, around World War II. The city (well, technically the town of Groton, across the river from the city proper) is home to the Navy’s primary submarine base and a large shipbuilding yard, both of which were understandably bustling during the war. According to this story, the big sandwich itself was invented by an Italian shopkeeper named Benedetto Capaldo in New London, but was originally known as a “grinder.” Once the sub yard started ordering 500 sandwiches a day from Capaldo to feed its workers, the sandwich became irrevocably associated with submersible boats.

A nice story, but the OED’s first printed record of “submarine sandwich” dates to a January 1940 phone book for Wilmington, DE, where a restaurant was advertising “submarine sandwiches to take out.” Seeing as how we didn’t mobilize for WWII until two years later, that pretty much torpedoes the New London legend.

Grinder: You’re most likely to find one of these in New England, though the more common “sub” has taken over most of the terrain. “Grinder” shares some flimsy nautical roots with the sub–some claim that it was named for “grinders,” Italian-American slang for dockworkers (who were often sanding and grinding rusty hulls to repaint them)–but the more widely attested origin is about the sandiwch itself. Subs, with their Italian bread and piles of fixings, were harder to chew through than your typical ham and cheese on white bread. That toothsomeness got translated into “grinder,” since that’s what your teeth had to do to get through a bite.

A note for nitpickers: at certain points in New England grinder history, grinders have been hot, while subs stayed cold, but that’s come and gone over the decades.

Hero: Native to New York, the hero has two main origin stories. First, there’s the logical speculation that it’s a warped pronunciation of “gyro,” the Greek sandwich with spit-roasted meat. But the term is attested back to the late ’40s, and Greek gyros only made a splash in American food culture in the ’60s, and even that began in Chicago. And maybe more importantly, all of these sandwiches are essentially Italian creations. The odds that a New Yorker in the ’40s would mistake a Greek establishment for an Italian one are approximately nil.

The real hero’s journey began with the wonderfully named Clementine Paddleworth, who probably coined the word in a food column for the New York Herald Tribune in 1936, since the sandwich was so large “you had to be a hero to eat it.” Since the NYHT went belly-up in 1966, there aren’t any searchable archives online, but an enterprising food historian out there could go check out Rutgers University’s microfilm archive to pin this one down for good. Barry Popik, on OED contributor and general food word expert, traces the word back to a 1937 Lexicon of Trade Jargon published by the WPA, which describes “hero” as “armored car guards jargon” for a big sandwich. That throws a little doubt on the Paddleworth Hypothesis, since it’s unlikely a bunch of armored car guards would just pick up words from the paper willy-nilly, but the underlying “gotta be a hero to eat it” is still a strong contender.

Hoagie: This is the home-grown Philadelphia term for the big Italian sandwich, and has picked up not one but four explanations for its origin. The first two, strangely mirroring the “sub” story, start at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The Yard was located on a chunk of land once known as Hog Island, so the workers there were accordingly called “hoggies.” This was an early spelling of the local sandwich, and the story goes that the many Italian immigrant Navy Yard workers ate enough of them to get the thing named after themselves. Alternately, “hoagie” is said to come from “Hogan,” in two different ways. First, it was a common Irish name, and became a nickname for the Irish immigrant Navy Yard workers, so like with “hoggie,” they supposedly named it after themselves. Or, another story goes, a mug named Hogan asked a coworker who was always chowing down on delicious Italian sandwiches if he could start getting the lucky guy’s wife to make an extra for him every day, and the name somehow stuck.

But considering that the Hog Island Navy Yard shut down in the ’20s, and “hoagies” didn’t start making the rounds in print until the ’40s, that’s fairly unlikely. I’ll admit, it’s weird that hoagies, subs, and grinders would all have apocryphal stories related to dockworkers, but the dates really don’t line up on this one.

Instead, the real origin is more likely to go back to a jazz musician turned sandwich shop owner named Al De Palma. In the late ’20s, he saw some fellow hepcats eating a sub, and commented to himself that you “had to be a hog” to eat a sandwich that big. So when he opened a sub shop during the Depression, he started calling his big sandwiches “hoggies,” and eventually opened chains across the city. As for why “hoggie” turned to “hoagie,” the best explanation out there is probably the Philadelphia accent itself. Ever heard those guys talk?

Po’ Boys: The only strong contender for the true name of the sandwich outside of the Eastern Seaboard comes from New Orleans, where the sandwich goes by “po’ boy,” “po-boy,” or the original, “poor boy.” The best story about this name happens to be true, and it starts with a streetcar strike. In the summer of 1929, 1,100 New Orleans streetcar conductors and motormen went on strike, largely with the support of the city–when strikebreakers were sent in to bust picket lines and scab on the trolleys, a crowd of 10,000 New Orleanians gathered downtown to cheer on strikers as they burned the first scab-operated streetcar.

Two brothers named Bennie and Clovis Martin, Cajun Louisianians who used to work on the streetcars, sent a letter of support to the union pledging free meals to union members and their support “till hell freezes over.” They followed through on their promise, giving out large sandwiches to any strikers that came by their shop, commenting to each other “here comes another poor boy” whenever one walked through the door. To maximize the food load, they worked with an Italian baker, John Gendusa, to come up with a rectangular sandwich loaf more efficient than the tapering baguette. As with the hoagie, the name then spread through the city as the Martins expanded their restaurant and stuck.

Etc.: Regional sandwich name microclimates abound, though the dominance of Subway is slowly grinding away at local specialties. In Southie (in Boston), you can order a ”
spuckie” at the spa, short for spucadella, the name of an Italian roll. In Wisconsin, they go by ”
garibaldis,” named after a menu item at a local Italian restaurant (presumably named in honor of the hero of Italian unification). And there are plenty of shape names, like ”
blimpie” (named after the Hoboken-based chain), ”
torpedo,” ”
zeppelin” (found in Pennsylvania), and ”
bomber” (near buffalo). And in parts of the upper Midwest, people call big sandwiches ”
Dagwoods,” after the famously hungry comic book character.

But the weirdest-sounding of all has to be ”
wedge,” which is only familiar to natives of Westchester County, NY, and Fairfield County, CT, the two counties directly north of New York City. Some sources group it in with the shape-names, based on a diagonal cut in the middle of the sandwich, or a wedge cut out of the top half to make more room for fillings, but the real story’s probably the simplest on this list: “wedge” is just short for “sandwich,” and comes from a Yonkers deli whose Italian owner got tired of saying the whole word.

World Post Day

World Post Day marks the anniversary of the Universal Postal Union's establishment and is annually held on October 9. The union aimed to create and maintain a structure for the free flow of international mail around the world.

In many international organizations and countries, high ranking officials or ministers make speeches or issue proclamations on the history or achievements of national or international postal services. Postal services may issue special postage stamps to commemorate the ideals, history or achievements of the national postal service on or around World Post Day. These are prized by stamp collectors and philatelists (people who study stamps). In addition, special lessons on these topics may be arranged for school children and the postal services and their employees may receive extra training or recognition and attention in the media.

The Universal Postal Union in cooperation with UNESCO has, for the past 35 years, organized an international letter-writing competition for young people. Many participating postal services use World Post Day to award prizes to the winners of the competition.

From the earliest times in history, "postal services" existed in the form of messengers who travelled large distances on foot or horseback. In the 1600s and 1700s, many countries set up national postage systems and entered into bilateral agreements for the exchange of mail between countries. By the late 1800s there was a large web of bilateral agreements that made the distribution of international mail complicated, nontransparent and inefficient.

In 1863, Montgomery Blair, Postmaster General in the United States of America, organized a conference of representatives from 15 European and American countries. During this conference, the delegates laid down a number of general principles for mutual agreements on international postal services but did not create an international postal agreement. On September 15, 1874, Heinrich von Stephan, a senior postal official in the North German Confederation (an area that now forms parts of Germany, Poland and Russia), opened a conference in Berne, Switzerland, with delegates from 22 countries. On October 9, 1874, the delegates signed the Treaty of Berne and established the General Postal Union.

The number of countries that were members of the General Postal Union grew rapidly and the union's name was changed to the Universal Postal Union in 1878. In 1948, the Universal Postal Union became a specialized agency of the United Nations. The 16th Universal Postal Union Congress was held in Tokyo, Japan, from October 1 to November 16, 1969. During this conference the delegates voted to declare October 9 each year as World Post Day.

The work of the Universal Postal Union continues to be very important to global communication and trade, even in the era of digital communication. In areas and communities with a high level of access to digital communication, postal services are important for distributing goods bought in Internet stores. In communities with lower levels of access to digital communication, postal services remain vital for the distribution of information and goods. Post offices and trucks used to deliver mail to outlying areas are also becoming service points to bring digital communication to many more people. Moreover, the union is working on ways to bring electronic money transfer services to rural areas in countries in the Middle East and in north-east Africa.

World Sight Day

World Sight Day is a global event that focuses on bringing attention on blindness and vision impairment. It is observed on the second Thursday of October each year.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which is the UN’s directing and coordinating authority for health, and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) are actively involved in coordinating events and activities for World Sight Day. Associations such as Lions Clubs International have also been actively involved in promoting the day on an annual basis for many years.
Many communities, associations, and non-government organizations work together with WHO and IAPB to promote the day for the following purposes:

To raise public awareness of blindness and vision impairment as major international public health issues.
To influence governments, particularly health ministers, to participate in and designate funds for national blindness prevention programs.
To educate target audiences about blindness prevention, about VISION 2020 and its activities, and to generate support for VISION 2020 program activities.
Some people plant trees to commemorate World Sight Day and while others submit a photo for an international photo montage that focuses on the theme of blindness. Other activities include taking part in awareness-raising walks or distributing and displaying posters, bookmarks, booklets and other forms of information the raise awareness about preventable blindness.

The world's population is ageing and people are living longer but blindness from chronic conditions is also rising, according to WHO. About 80 percent of the world's 45 million blind people are aged over 50 years. About 90 percent of blind people live in low-income countries, where older people, especially older women, face barriers to getting the necessary eye health care. Yet, many age-related conditions leading to blindness – such as cataract, refractive error and glaucoma – can be easily and cheaply treated or cured. Timely intervention can often delay or reduce their effects on vision.

Lions Clubs International partnered with blindness prevention organizations worldwide to commemorate the first World Sight Day on October 8, 1998. This event was later integrated into VISION 2020, a global initiative that the IAPB coordinates. This initiative is a joint program between WHO and the IAPB. It involves non-government organizations, and professional associations, as well as eye care institutions and corporations.

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