Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holidays and Observances for November 30 2014

Computer Security Day

This week several organizations around the world have celebrated the Computer Security Day (CSD) to raise the awareness of computer security issues. Computer Security Day is an annual event that is observed worldwide. This annual event started in 1988 and aims to remind people to protect their computers and information. It's held on November 30th although some organizations changed this date slightly in order to better adequate their business calendars.

Computer Security Day is held yearly as a way of reminding all computer users that computer security and safety is an important personal and workplace responsibility. This is a good day to do some basic security checks and to follow up anything you've been meaning to do for a while. Here we presents some of the things that you might like to consider doing on Computer Security Day or any day when you're concerned about your computer's security.

1. Read your workplace's computer security policy again. If your workplace has a policy, read it. Even if you've already read it before, it may have been updated, or you may have forgotten important parts of it. Read it for a refresher.

2. Check your computer station and office for security and safety issues. Looking around the area you work in can reveal a number of hazards that can be dealt with, easily provided you follow through checking them methodically. Here are some suggested activities:
  • Check the batteries in your computer room's smoke detectors. Update them if needed. Install them immediately if you have none.
  • Check for fire extinguishers. Do you have them near your computing and server equipment in case of a fire?
  • Place monitors, keyboard and other computer equipment on anti-slip mats where needed.
  • Have you got anti-static features in place to prevent shocks? This is especially important if you work with the internal hardware.
  • Have you got power surge protectors in place for all computers and related equipment? If not, buy some today and install them immediately.
3. Check the security and safety of your computer hardware. Whenever you leave your room or office, can other people access or remove your computing equipment? If so, consider instituting practices that will prevent them from doing anything with your computer:
  • Put computer security posters in the office or room to remind everyone of their security responsibilities.
  • Use passwords to prevent unwanted access to computers.
  • Attach computers to the wall or heavy equipment by means of locks in order to prevent them from being removed. This is especially important for laptops and notebooks.
4. Clean the hardware and your desk zone. A cluttered workspace and messy office can be the cause of sloppy work practices in relation to confidential information and the more at ease everyone has become with leaving confidential information lying about, the harder it becomes to break the slack cycle. Jump on it now!
  • Vacuum the computer keyboard and computer area to remove dust build-up. Wipe down the screens with anti-static wipes.
  • Ensure that all dust, including chalk dust, is not covering or inside computers and related equipment. Also remove pet dander, especially if your cat has a habit of sleeping next to your computer as you work.
  • Clean the heads on disk drives and other magnetic media drives.
  • Clean the area around your computer to remove clutter and to ensure that you know where all confidential files, discs, memory sticks, and other related confidential information actually is. Store everything securely.
5. Check for software and program vulnerabilities. Use the tools at hand to keep your computer software, applications, and programs in top shape.
  • When did you last change your password? Do it today if you can't remember. Read How to choose a computer password that is hard to guess for more help.
  • Do a virus sweep. Read How to remove a virus if you find one.
  • Delete unneeded files. They use memory but also create clutter, making it both harder to find or spot problems, and providing more potential "gateways" for viruses to enter through. A regular clean up is cathartic.
  • Get rid of your Adobe Flash cookies. Read How to delete Flash cookies for the instructions.
  • Examine the audit files on your computers.
6. Verify computer inventories. If you're running a business or you're in the part of the organization that's responsible for computers, use this day to take inventories.
  • Check inventories of all computer stock in the workplace. Chase up any missing or borrowed equipment.
  • Check the inventory of computer utilities and packaged software.
  • Check the inventory of computer applications.
7. Update computer security training manuals. Plan to give mini computer security sessions to staff and other people on this day. Send or hand out the new manual to people who need it.
  • Include all issues of privacy, use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in a workplace context, etc. Be sure to discuss ethics and accountability for workers using external websites and internal chat and wiki facilities.
  • For those working from home or who use computers at home, read up on security concerns related to using social networking sites and change your settings to protect yourself.
  • Read How to manage Facebook privacy options for more information.
  • Know how to spot and avoid falling for online scams such as phishing, hoax emails, pretexting, etc. Teach members of your family, community, and coworkers how to spot these scams too.
8. Back up your computer data. For every computer owned, back up the data. If you don't already back-up regularly, make today the day to draw up a plan to remind yourself to make regular back-ups, or use a program that will do this for you automatically.
  • Develop a total recovery plan for all computer systems that might need one.
  • Consider having several sources of back-up - online, cloud, USB sticks, hard drives, etc.
  • Check that trouble logs are in place on each computer and are being used and followed up.
9. Think security and safety when you're out and about. Carrying laptops, notebooks, and electronic data gadgets can lead you into trouble if you don't pay adequate attention. Things to do include:
  • Never leave a laptop or other electronic gadget in open sight in a car. Always store out of sight, or preferably, take it with you. And lock your car, even if all you're doing is paying for gas.
  • Remember to pick up your laptop, USB stick, or other electronic gadget after using it. Leaving it behind on a bar, in a cafe, or at someone else's house allows anyone access to the information on the item.
  • Avoid carrying laptops and notebooks openly in places where mugging and pickpocketing is known. While this is mainly of concern when traveling, always keep your wits about you.
  • Avoid placing open liquids such as soda or coffee near your computer. Spills can be very costly, not to mention dangerous to your data!
10. Wipe clean old computers being donated to charity, schools, or the recycling depot at the tip. You don't want an unscrupulous person resurrecting your personal data.
  • Read How to clean your computer to sell for more information.
Security is an important consideration when working with computers, the Internet or indeed any electronic devices. Use Computer Security Day to ensure that your passwords are regularly updated, that your personal information is safe and secure, and that your systems are protected.

National Meth Awareness Day

National Meth Awareness Day, November 30, is an effort to combat the abuse and use of methamphetamine. Coordinated by The Meth Project, a large-scale, teen-targeted prevention program of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids which aims to significantly reduce meth use through public service messaging, public policy and community outreach, the week will kick off with a digital media campaign and social content which asks teens to get involved and take action.

“Meth is powerfully addictive and can cause extreme damage to a young person’s body and brain,” explained Steve Pasierb, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids President and CEO. “Meth Awareness Week provides a pinnacle opportunity to educate parents and members of our community about the health risks of methamphetamine use and help prevent teens and young adults from ever using this devastating drug.”

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, methamphetamine is one of the greatest drug threats to the nation. The agency recently reported that the drug is at its highest levels of availability and purity; and lowest cost since 2005 because of increased levels of meth imported from Mexico, and growing rates of small-scale domestic production. RAND estimates methamphetamine costs the country between $16.2 and $48.3 billion per year in treatment, healthcare and foster care services, as well as the costs of crime and lost productivity associated with the drug.

The research-based program has had a profound effect, first in Montana, where teen meth use has dropped 63 percent and meth-related crime has declined by 62 percent. The success of the Montana Meth Project led to its adoption by five additional states that have seen similar results.

National Mousse Day

If you give a moose some mousse, he is bound to want a spoon - November 30 is National Mousse Day!

Mousse is a light, airy food made with a combination of eggs, whipped cream, gelatin, and flavorings. It can be served both hot or cold, and it can be savory or sweet, which can be a surprise to people who think specifically of chocolate mousse, a popular dessert form of this food, when they hear the word. There are a range of ways to prepare and serve mousse, making it an extremely varied dish. Many cookbooks have recipes for this dish, and it is also possible to find specific recipes online, whether a cook has a passion for pumpkin or asparagus mousse.

The use of beaten cream and eggs in mousse creates air pockets that make the dish light and fluffy. The gelatin helps it stick together, although some cooks just use eggs as a binder. As a result, mousse has a solid form, with a lightness that can make it feel quite refreshing, depending on what the ingredients are. Depending on the type, the dish may be served unmolded, or it may be served in the mold, typically in the form of individual servings.

Dessert mousses often incorporate berries and fruits in whole or pureed form, and layers are not uncommon. It is also possible to find them made from various forms of chocolate and spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg. Other cooks like to explore dessert ingredients like mint in their dishes. Dessert mousse is typically served cold, and it may be cooked or uncooked, depending on the recipe; uncooked mousse can present a health risk, unless it is made with pasteurized eggs.

Savory mousses are often made with seafood like salmon, although meats and vegetables are used as well. They are typically cooked, commonly in a water bath so that the ingredients do not curdle or crack, and they can be served hot or cold. A savory mousse is often accompanied with a sauce that is designed to bring out the flavor of the dish, and it is typically served in unmolded form, either as a single serving or on a central platter from which individual servings are cut.

This diverse family of foods originates in France, and many excellent examples of mousse can be found in that country and in restaurants around the world that serve French cuisine. If you want to experiment with making your own at home, you may want to consider investing in a French cookbook, which will discuss the basic principles of this dish and provide a few recipes for you to work with.

National Stay At Home Because You're Well Day

November is not only a month of turkeys and football, but there are many weird and crazy holidays that are being celebrated all month long! One holiday that not many people know about is happening next week on November 30th and it is “National Stay At Home Because You’re Well Day”!!

Everyone knows that staying home when you are sick is not only necessary, but no fun at all! Usually you are laying in bed feeling horrible and taking medicine every few hours in hopes of feeling like yourself again in a few days! But with this holiday, you have the ability to stay home from work, but not feel sick and tired! If you play hooky from work or school, you can go out and do what you want, or stay in and have a ball all while feeling A-OK!

If you decide to celebrate this holiday, here is a list of ten things you can do on your day off!
  1. Catch up on your favorite television shows: During the week you are way too busy with school and work to even think about what is going to happen next to the doctors of Grey’s Anatomy or which amazing singer just got voted off of The Voice, but if you stay home on this day, you can hang out all day with your DVR and see what you've missed all week!
  2. Go Shopping: Who says you have to spend all day at home? When you are busy with work, you never have time to hit up your local mall during the week! Usually you have to wait for the weekend and with all of the people being off from work, the lines are crazy and forget about parking! By taking off, you can hit up every store that you want to and find a killer outfit for your weekend plans, or maybe find that game you've been dying to get a hold of!
  3. Read a good book: Who has time anymore to sit down and read a book?! If you play hooky from your responsibilities for a day, you can finally pick up that dusty old Kindle that is sitting on your shelf and read the third book in that trilogy you've been dying to finish before the movie is released!
  4. Do some chores: Now this may not sound like fun, and I am the first to admit that I would do anything but clean my closet out! However, when you are busy and at work all week, you rarely have time to do what you have to do at home! Why not use the time off to organize your life a little more so when the weekend rolls around you can really enjoy the break! BONUS: If you play some loud music and dance around in your socks alla Tom Cruise in Risky Business then you are bound to have more fun than you thought!
  5. Start a new project: Have you always wanted to try something new or get into something creative like knitting or painting? If you have and never had the time, why not just use the day off to figure out where you want to go and what you want to do? Try something new and do something creative with your time!
  6. Play video games: As every girl will tell you, guys spending all day playing video games is one of the biggest mysteries we face today! How can they sit in front of the computer or X-Box for three hours and still be entertained? However, maybe there is something to it after all? If you are a guy then this will come as no shock to you, and if you are a girl who plays video games, then you will know exactly where I am coming from here! But, if you are someone who doesn’t play video games on the regular, maybe try it for the day! You may find that it is a lot more entertaining than you thought!
  7. Investigate some new music: If you are feeling musically challenged lately and like you just don’t have the tunes to get you in the mood anymore, literally or figuratively, than maybe it’s time to jump on your laptop and search for some new bands or singers that get your blood pumping! I love when I find a band that I didn't know about and fall in love with their music! It’s awesome to know how many talented singers and songwriters there are out there, and it’s a lot of fun to discover them!
  8. Go workout: With everything you are doing during the week, the last thing you probably want to do is workout! But, with all of this extra time on your hands, it may be fun to go to the gym or maybe go for a run and let off some steam! Research has shown that working out makes you happy, and maybe that is just what you need on your day off!
  9. Try cooking or baking something: Take the time to head over to Pinterest and look up those amazing recipes you've always wanted to try, but have never had the time to do. Cooking is fun, and with the extra time you have, you’ll become a regular Martha Stewart in no time!
  10. Make your friends play hooky too: Staying home alone and getting things done is all well and good, but why not make some of your other friends stay home too so you can have some company! Make everyone come over and watch movies if the weather is gross! If it is nice out, maybe go enjoy a fun time outside in the park, or if it’s really nice where you live, the beach! No matter what you do, having your friends with you will make it twice as fun!
Are you planning on celebrating the holiday on November 30th?!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Holidays and Observances for November 29 2014

Electronic Greeting Card Day

With the cost of just about everything on the rise these days, many folks are finding creative ways to save a buck. And with the holiday’s right around the corner, sending Christmas cards the old-fashioned way might just break the bank!

Today is Electronic Greeting Card Day, an annual “holiday” observed on November 17 or November 29, depending who you talk to! While the origins of this holiday are unknown, now is the perfect time to start making your Christmas list and checking it twice before Santa drops in!

The greeting card metaphor was employed early in the life of the World Wide Web. The first postcard site, The Electric Postcard was created in late 1994 by Judith Donath at the MIT Media Lab. It started slowly: 10-20 cards a day were sent in the first weeks, 1000-2000 a day over the first summer, and then it gained momentum rapidly. During the 1995-96 Christmas season, there were days when over 19,000 cards were sent; by late spring of 1996 over 1.7 million cards had been sent in total. The source code for this service was made publicly available, with the stipulation that users share improvements with each other.The Electric Postcard won numerous awards, including a 1995 GNN Best of the Net award.

MIT’s postcards and remained the dominant and the only documented E-card service until the late fall of 1995. In Nov 1995, Awesome Cyber Cards and also then known as (located at until Oct 2010, now moved), began developing the Internet greeting card, a digital Internet card including a fixed or suggested greeting as well as an image.

When the Internet Archive began capturing Web sites across the Internet in the fall of 1996, it created a reservoir of information about E-card development by preserving Internet history from that time and from earlier time-marked Internet pages captured at that time. The Awesome Cards web pages, captured on Nov 10,1996 and available at the Wayback Machine demonstrate its development of the cyber greeting card through the year 1996 as one drills down through its card collections. Specifically, the holiday collections from earlier that same year give a virtual time-stamp of greeting card development, starting with Valentines with fixed or semi-fixed greetings in February 1996 and progressing through greeting cards with changeable suggested greetings by the Thanksgiving collection.

By mid-1996, a number of sites had developed E-cards. By mid October 1996, directly emailable greeting cards and postcards ("Email Express") were developed and introduced by Awesome Cards, based on new capabilities introduced in the Netscape 3.0 browser. This is the first time the E-card itself could be emailed directly by the card sender to the recipient rather than having an announcement sent with a link to the card's location at the E-card site.

Between Sep 1996 and Thanksgiving 1997, a paper greeting card company named Blue Mountain developed E-cards on its web site. Blue Mountain grew quickly by allowing visitors to create greetings for others to use. Blue Mountain further expanded when Microsoft promoted its service on its free Hotmail service. This affiliation ceased and Blue Mountain sued Microsoft in Nov 1998 for putting email card announcements from it and other E-card companies in the junk folder of its Hotmail users.

By 1999, major capital was starting to flow into the Internet, beginning the dotcom boom. Of the E-card sites, Blue Mountain Arts was noteworthy in this period for its sale in October 1999 to Excite@Home for $780M (which represent a price of $71 per unique monthly user). The transaction has been referenced byCNN and Business 2.0 as evidence of the Dot-com bubble. On September 13, 2001, three weeks before filing for bankruptcy on October 1, 2001, Excite@Home sold to American Greetings for $35M, or $3.23 per unique monthly user. The web site remains a large web site, primarily focused on E-cards. In June 2008, purchased the free E-card site and added it to their own greeting card site, which made them one of the largest E-card sites in the world.

Originally, most E-cards were free, often sponsored by advertising. While free greeting cards are still the most prevalent and popular, some sites charge for either all E-cards or special premium E-cards. Others charge an annual membership which enables members to send cards for the duration of the membership.

Several non-profit organizations offer free E-cards as a way of having a supporter introduce the organization to another individual. In 2006, SOS Children's Villages - USA began offering free E-cards for many occasions such as birthdays, thank yous, and Mother's Day.
Instead of sending cards via the Pony Express, electronic greeting cards, or e-cards, are sent electronically. Besides saving time, many lovely greetings are free of charge. In honor of Electronic Greeting Card Day and the upcoming holidays, spread some holiday cheer this year by sending a free or nearly-free electronic Christmas greeting.

Christmas Electronic Greeting Cards:
  • Jan Brett Christmas Postcards – Talented illustrator, Jan Brett, has a slew of lovely electronic Christmas postcards perfect for the holidays.
  • Hallmark eCards - You can't have a greeting card listing without mentioning Hallmark cards! Hallmark offers a huge selection of Christmas greeting cards - some are free, some aren't.
  • Holiday Greeting Cards – Send a free digital Christmas card this year from the folks at Punchbowl. You can even add your own photograph! Note – some cards are free, and some are not.
  • E-Motion Cards – Friends and family will enjoy “opening” these motion greeting cards. Please note - Some cards are free, some are not.
  • Pingg Photo Cards – These adorable Christmas cards are perfect for loved ones! Simply upload your image of choice, personalize and create your new invitation or card for free without a digital envelope or upgrade for $10. You’ll need to sign up first.
  • Christmas Greeting Cards from Care2 – Send a free Christmas card to friends and loved ones from Care 2 and make a difference in someone’s life in more ways than one!
  • Cross Cards Christmas Cards – These religious-inspired greeting cards are free.
  • ATM Greetings – Check out the wide selection of Christmas cards from ATM Greetings.
  • Christmas eCards from 123Greetings – Select from traditional, animated, humorous, kids and video cards from 123Greetings.
  • Doozy Cards - Send a religious, traditional, funny or naughty Christmas musical greeting card from Doozy Cards.
  • Carlsen Cards – The talented Martine Carlsen offers several free animated Christmas cards that are too cute to boot!
  • Ojolie Greeting Cards – While these cards are not free, they are well worth the money! Regardless of which design you select, these hand-painted cards are simply beautiful! Available in several languages, a one-year membership will cost $12.
  • Sloppy Kiss Greeting Cards – If you or someone you know is a dog lover, you’ll get a kick out of this website! Select from more than 125 different dogs and say “Happy Howlidays!” You’ll need to sign up for the 30-day free trial or join for $13.95 per year. And by the way, Sloppy Kiss supports the folks at Petfinder who help find ‘furever’ homes for the millions of unwanted, abandoned, neglected and abused pets.
  • JibJab Greeting Cards – If you are looking for something that is guaranteed to put a smile on someone’s face, JibJab is for you! For $1 per month, you’ll be able to send unlimited eCards all year ‘round.
  • Hipster Cards – These naughty Christmas cards are for the more “mature” audience.
Take a few moments to send a digital greeting card to friends and family – you may even inspire them to send their own!  Browse the internet for a wide variety of beautiful designs to express your feelings, including Thank You, Birthday, or Just Because cards.

International Day of Solidarity With The Palestinian People

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is annually observed on November 29. The day is also known as Solidarity Day.

Special meetings may be held to observe Solidarity Day in some UN offices, councils, government bodies and organizations that have a special interest in the issues encompassing the event.  The day may also be publicized through newspapers, magazines, radio and television news, and online media.  Some topics that may be publicized or discussed include the status and plight of Palestinian refugees, as well as general information on Palestinian culture and society.

On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution on the partition of Palestine (resolution 181 (II)). On December 2, 1977, it was recorded that the assembly called for the annual observance of November 29 as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (A/RES/32/40 B). On December 1, 2003, the assembly encouraged member states to continue to provide support and publicity to observe the day. So the day was observed on December 1 in 2003.

The assembly also requested that the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat should continue to organize an annual exhibit on Palestinian rights or a cultural event with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations.

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.

National Lemon Cream Pie Day

Pucker up! November 29 is National Lemon Cream Pie Day.

Winter is when most of the brilliantly colored citrus fruits, like lemons, shine brightest. Snap out of "Bah, humbug!" mode with the sweet tang of lemon cream pie.

When it comes to the sweet concoction, the classic interpretation involves baking lemon juice, eggs, sugar and heavy cream in a gingersnap crust. If you're not quite in a Susie Homemaker state of mind, a box of lemon pudding mix for the filling always works too.

Top it with whipped cream, sprinkle on some zest and serve immediately. Now, that's how to make lemonade out of lemons.

National Rice Cake Day

Take today’s food holiday with a grain of salt. Or, more accurately, a grain of rice. November 29 is National Rice Cake Day!

It is also National Lemon Cream Pie Day, but if you’re like us, you had plenty of pie yesterday to tide you over for awhile. In fact, you've probably still got leftovers today. A light, tasty, low-calorie and low-fat rice cake sounds much more appealing on Black Friday!

Rice cakes are very popular in Asian culture. They may be made with rice flour, ground rice, or whole grains of rice compressed together. Rice cakes can be sweet or savory, and are available in a variety of flavors. Rice has been cultivated for over 7000 years, and is primarily grown in warm, humid climates. In Pacific Rim countries especially, rice is the basis for many meals and snacks. Sweet rice cakes called mochi were eaten by Japanese nobility as far back as the 8th century, and really began to flourish by the end of the 12th century. Once Tokyo became the capital of Japan during the Edo Period (1601-1868), rice cakes became a popular festival treat, and began appearing at roadside stands throughout the country. To this day, many Asian street vendors sell variations of rice cakes made with vegetables, seaweed, and seafood that are fried to order. In the U.S., puffed rice cakes are common. These are considerably healthier, and are a popular low-calorie substitute for pastries.

We picked up a bag of white cheddar flavored rice cakes to celebrate. This is my favorite flavor; I often enjoy rice cakes for a snack, and today was no exception!

National Square Dance Day

Swing your partner and do-si-do—November 29 is Square Dance Day in the United States. Didn't know this folksy form of entertainment had a holiday all its own? Then it’s probably time you learned a few things about square dancing, a tradition that blossomed in the United States but has roots that stretch back to 15th-century Europe.

Square dance aficionados trace the activity back to several European ancestors. In England around 1600, teams of six trained performers—all male, for propriety’s sake, and wearing bells for extra oomph—began presenting choreographed sequences known as the morris dance. This fad is thought to have inspired English country dance, in which couples lined up on village greens to practice weaving, circling and swinging moves reminiscent of modern-day square dancing. Over on the continent, meanwhile, 18th-century French couples were arranging themselves in squares for social dances such as the quadrille and the cotillion. Folk dances in Scotland, Scandinavia and Spain are also thought to have influenced square dancing.
When Europeans began settling England’s 13 North American colonies, they brought both folk and popular dance traditions with them. French dancing styles in particular came into favor in the years following the American Revolution, when many former colonists snubbed all things British. A number of the terms used in modern square dancing come from France, including “promenade,” “allemande” and the indispensable “do-si-do”—a corruption of “dos-à-dos,” meaning “back-to-back.”

As the United States grew and diversified, new generations stopped practicing the social dances their grandparents had enjoyed across the Atlantic. This was not the case in every region, however. Similar to English country dance and the quadrille, the “running set” caught on in 19th-century Appalachia. But instead of memorizing each and every step, participants began relying on callers to provide cues—and, as square dance calling became an art form in its own right, humor and entertainment. During the early years of square dance in the United States, live music was often played by African-American musicians. Blacks also worked as callers and contributed their own steps and songs to the tradition.

By the late 19th century, waltzes and polkas, which allowed couples to get close without raising too many eyebrows, had supplanted group-based dances in urban ballrooms. Even in the country, square dancing was beginning to seem dated, particularly when the jazz and swing eras dawned. In the 1920s automaker Henry Ford resolved to revive the tradition, which he considered an excellent form of exercise and a way to acquire genteel manners. He hired dancing master Benjamin Lovett to develop a national program, required his factory workers to attend classes, opened ballrooms and produced instructive radio broadcasts for schools throughout the country. Lloyd Shaw, a folk dance teacher, took up the cause in the 1930s, writing books about the rescued art of square dancing and holding seminars for a new generation of square dance callers.

In the 1950s callers began developing standards for square dancing across the United States, allowing dancers to learn interchangeable routines and patterns. Microphones and records made the activity even more accessible to the general public, since a highly trained caller with a booming voice no longer had to be physically present. Along with standardized—or “Western”—square dancing, unregulated regional styles, known collectively as “traditional” square dancing, continue to thrive in certain parts of the country. Generally speaking, however, enthusiasm for all forms of this European-American hybrid has floundered in recent decades, according to the United Square Dancers of America.

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday held on the Saturday after U.S. Thanksgiving during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. First observed on November 27, 2010, it is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores respectively. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local. Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express corporation.

In 2010 the holiday was conceived and promoted by American Express via a nationwide radio and television advertising campaign. That year Amex bought advertising inventory on Facebook, which it in turn gave to its small merchant account holders, and also gave rebates to new customers to promote the event.

American Express publicized the initiative using social media, advertising, and public relations. At least 41 local politicians and many small business groups in the United States issued proclamations concerning the campaign, which generated more than one million Facebook "like" registrations and nearly 30,000 tweets under the Twitter hashtags #smallbusinesssaturday (which had existed since early 2010) and #smallbizsaturday.

The Twitter hashtag #SmallBusinessSaturday has existed since early 2010 and was used to promote small businesses on any Saturday (not solely that Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday). The hashtag is used in a manner similar to #FollowFriday to highlight favorite local businesses. Additionally, some small business owners have run marketing specials on the November Small Business Saturday to help capitalize on the boost in foot or online traffic, as most customers in this time period are actively shopping for the holidays.

Small Business Saturday UK began in the UK in 2013 after the success of Small Business Saturday in America.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Holidays and Observances for November 28 2014

Black Friday

Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States (the fourth Thursday of November), often regarded as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. In recent years, most major retailers have opened very early and offered promotional sales to kick off the holiday shopping season, similar to Boxing Daysales in many Commonwealth nations. Black Friday is not a holiday, but California and some other states observe "The Day After Thanksgiving" as a holiday for state government employees, sometimes in lieu of another federal holiday such as Columbus Day. Many non-retail employees and schools have both Thanksgiving and the day after off, followed by a weekend, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers. It has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005, although news reports, which at that time were inaccurate, have described it as the busiest shopping day of the year for a much longer period of time.

In 2013, approximately 141 million U.S. consumers shopped during Black Friday, spending a total of $57.4 billion, with online sales reaching $1.2 billion.

The day's name originated in Philadelphia, where it originally was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term started before 1961 and began to see broader use outside Philadelphia around 1975. Later an alternative explanation was made: that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss ("in the red") from January through November, and "Black Friday" indicates the point at which retailers begin to turn a profit, or "in the black".

For many years, it was common for retailers to open at 6:00 a.m., but in the late 2000s many had crept to 5:00 or even 4:00. This was taken to a new extreme in 2011, when several retailers (including Target, Kohl's, Macy's, Best Buy, and Bealls) opened at midnight for the first time. In 2012, Walmart and several other retailers announced that they would open most of their stores at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day (except in states where opening on Thanksgiving is prohibited due to blue laws, such as Massachusetts where they still opened around midnight), prompting calls for a walkout among some workers. There have been reports of violence occurring between shoppers on Black Friday.

"Black Friday" as a term has been used in multiple contexts, going back to the 19th century, where in the United States it was associated with a financial crisis of 1869. The earliest known use of "Black Friday" to refer to shopping on the day after Thanksgiving was made in a public relations newsletter from 1961 that is clear on the negative implications of the name and its origin in Philadelphia:
For downtown merchants throughout the nation, the biggest shopping days normally are the two following Thanksgiving Day. Resulting traffic jams are an irksome problem to the police and, in Philadelphia, it became customary for officers to refer to the post-Thanksgiving days as Black Friday and Black Saturday. Hardly a stimulus for good business, the problem was discussed by the merchants with their Deputy City Representative, Abe S. Rosen, one of the country's most experienced municipal PR executives. He recommended adoption of a positive approach which would convert Black Friday and Black Saturday to Big Friday and Big Saturday.
The attempt to rename Black Friday was unsuccessful, and its continued use is shown in a 1966 publication on the day's significance in Philadelphia:
JANUARY 1966 – "Black Friday" is the name which the Philadelphia Police Department has given to the Friday following Thanksgiving Day. It is not a term of endearment to them. "Black Friday" officially opens the Christmas shopping season in Center City, and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing.
The term "Black Friday" began to get wider exposure around 1975, as shown by two newspaper articles from November 29, 1975, both datelined Philadelphia. The first reference is in an article entitled "Army vs. Navy: A Dimming Splendor", in The New York Times:
Philadelphia police and bus drivers call it "Black Friday" – that day each year between Thanksgiving Day and the Army–Navy Game. It is the busiest shopping and traffic day of the year in the Bicentennial City as the Christmas list is checked off and the Eastern college football season nears conclusion.
The derivation is also clear in an Associated Press article entitled "Folks on Buying Spree Despite Down Economy", which ran in Pennsylvania's Titusville Herald on the same day:
Store aisles were jammed. Escalators were nonstop people. It was the first day of the Christmas shopping season and despite the economy, folks here went on a buying spree... "That's why the bus drivers and cab drivers call today 'Black Friday,'" a sales manager at Gimbels said as she watched a traffic cop trying to control a crowd of jaywalkers. "They think in terms of headaches it gives them."
The term's spread was gradual, however, and in 1985 the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that retailers in Cincinnati and Los Angeles were still unaware of the term.

Buy Nothing Day

It's not exactly the kind of message they like to hear on Wall Street these days, but that's just the way a Canadian group likes it.

It's a campaign called Buy Nothing Day, and as its name implies it's meant to be a call to consumers everywhere — particularly Americans — to reconsider their spending habits and take a moment to consider what rampant consumerism does to the Earth.

And if preaching the anti-consumerist message to shop-happy Americans wasn't already a tough-enough sale, the event will take place on what is traditionally one of the busiest shopping day of the year — the day after Thanksgiving.

According to the group behind the effort, Vancouver-based Adbusters, as many as one million people in 65 countries are expected to participate in this year's Buy Nothing Day campaign.

Representatives of the business community are not impressed: "I think it's a very bad idea," says Hank Cox, Director of Communications for the National Association of Manufacturers. "Consumer purchasing power is the one thing that has kept the economy growing."

Cox says that he rejects the notion that consumer spending is harmful and calls the Adbuster's effort a "protest against modernity."

"I admit, there's a certain cheekiness and strategic value to the day after Thanksgiving," says Adbuster's founder Kalle Lasn, a long-time political activist who has been behind several anti-consumer and ecological causes over the years.

While the group's activities are not likely to lead to street fighting, they may at least be good for a little street theater.

This year's effort, says Lasn, will have campaigners dressing up as shopping police and handing out "fines" to unwary shoppers lugging swollen bags. They also plan to have participants in pig masks lurking at major shopping malls, ready to snort and jeer at those they perceive as over-zealous shoppers.

The Buy Nothing Day concept began on a whim in 1992 when Lasn and a group of hard-core Northwest environmentalists were brainstorming ideas how to tackle what they saw as a growing problem of over-consumption in America.

After several lattes, one of them says they should keep it simple: just call it "Buy Nothing Day," he suggested. "Right from the start those three words had a sort of magic ring to them," says Lasn. "Very profound and flaky at the same time."

Flaky and, some might say, even vicious. The campaign has, in the past, taken shots at beloved American icons, as well as cultural and political figures. For example, the organization's poster ads have featured a fattened Statue of Liberty under a banner that reads "Boycott America," as well as a Santa Claus in a Zen-like pose meant to inspire gift-buying restraint.

But Lasn, a former advertising executive, says that the Adbusters attention-getting antics are meant to be humorous, even if they intend the underlying message to be taken seriously.

"We want the ads to provoke, to antagonize, to create vigorous debate," he says.

Adbuster's latest media effort is a short TV spot featuring a burping pig emerging from a map of North America. The ad compares Americans' level of consumption to other countries such an India and exhorts North Americans to consume less.

So far, the ad has only run once, on CNN's Lou Dobb's Moneyline.

While Adbusters has seen steady growth in membership since it began, several events have had a big impact on spreading the buy-nothing message, mostly via the Internet.

The first came in 1999, when anti-globalism protesters took to the streets of Seattle to protest the World Trade Organization. Users to the group's Web site nearly doubled overnight and the group saw a dramatic increase in donations.

Then came Sept. 11, which struck a chord with many people who say the terrorist attacks need to be viewed within a larger framework of problems resulting from a growing economic imbalance in the world.

"We feel the root cause of Sept. 11 and war on terrorism is due to huge imbalance between rich and poor," says Lasn. "Let's face it, with 20 percent of the world's population consuming 86 percent of goods, this creates fertile ground for fanatics."

This year's Buy Nothing Day campaign skewers the Bush administration's post-9/11 call to consume more.

"We don't like this patriotic duty to go out and buy stuff," Lasn says.

Make Your Own Head Day

Make Your Own Head Day is observed & celebrated on November 28, every year.

Make Your Own Head Day is a crafty day. A day to be an Artist of yourself and make your own head. It is a very popular thing to do in grade schools, and art classes.  Use any medium you can think of. Just be creative using clay, paper mache, oil paints or any other item you can be creative with. How about trying to draw or sketch your head. You can make a picture with charcoals, colored pencils or crayons. 

Like most holidays, they can have a double meaning. This holiday is about seeing yourself for who you are. Knowing your positive traits and negative traits and knowing the difference between the two. Make your own head can be a reference to being your won person and being the wiser of it. Make your own head day can be for contemplating on the "you" and being a better person for it. In order to do that you have to look at yourself. Hence, "Make Your own Head Day."

Our research did not find the creator, or the origin of this day. This holiday is referred to as a "National" day.  However, we did not find any congressional records or presidential proclamations for this day. Even though we didn't, this is still a holiday that is publicized to celebrate. So have fun with it and celebrate it!

For humans, the head and particularly the face are the main distinguishing feature between different people, due to their easily discernible features such as hair and eye color, nose, eye and mouth shapes, wrinkles, etc.

People who are more intelligent than normal are sometimes depicted in cartoons as having bigger heads, as a way of indicating that they have a larger brain; in science fiction, an extraterrestrial having a big head is often symbolic of high intelligence. However, minor changes in brain size do not have much effect on intelligence in humans.

In English slang, sometimes a boastful individual is said to have a "big head."

The weight of the average adult human head is about 3.6 kilograms or 8 pounds.

Maize Day

Maize Day is celebrated every year to mark the special role that maize has played in food history. Maize, which the Europeans came to call “corn,” has an ancient and interesting history and plays central roles in many native myths and legends. And anyone who’s ever eaten corn on the cob with fresh creamy butter and a pinch of salt knows that corn more than deserves its own holiday!

With the help of their legends, the natives of America could trace the history of maize to the beginning of time. Maize was, they believed, the food of the gods that had created the Earth, and so it played a central role in many native myths and legends. It also came to be one of their most important foods. In fact, the word maize itself derives from the Spanish form of the indigenous word for plant. In one form or other, maize made up roughly 65 percent of the native diet. In fact, maize was so important to the natives that when Europeans first came to North America in search of gold and asked the natives about whether there was any precious yellow substance to be found there, the natives showed them corn, for to them there was almost nothing more valuable than that grain. The European settlers had in fact brought their own grains with them, but they soon found that their barley and oats did not fare as well in North America as they had in Europe, and so they began grinding corn kernels to make meal that was later used to make bread. And like the natives, colonial farmers also found that different parts of the plant had a number of useful by-products and purposes. They used cobs to start fires and to fuel slow-burning fires. They used its stalk and leaves for livestock feed. They used husks to make brooms and chair bottoms as well as to pad mattresses and collars for draft animals. Maize was the first ever crop to be domesticated by Native Americans and this impressive crop is now used in numerous types of food including chewing gum, bread, corn flakes and popcorn. Maize is almost universally used as one of the main ingredients of feed for cows and horses. “Feed maize” is being used increasingly for heating; it is burned in special corn stoves.

All in all, maize is though to have been around since 1500 B.C., and once it was first cultivated it began to spread rapidly. Until this day, it is the staple food in many South American countries, and is also enjoyed as a side dish by people all over the world.

Of course, the best way to celebrate Maize Day is by gathering with friends and family to eat a special meal made from different types of maize, in different forms and added to all different types of dishes. The possibilities are almost infinite! From Mexican dishes such as tacos, tamales and quesadillas, to Italian polentas, to the cornmeal mush of the US army, to alcoholic drinks made from fermented maize, such as chicha morada, everyone will find something that is to his or her taste. A number of special events are also held around the world on Maize Day, including maize growing and cooking competitions, special cooking classes, maize craft classes and demonstrations.

National Day of Listening

The National Day of Listening is an unofficial day of observance where Americans are encouraged to set aside time to record the stories of their families, friends, and local communities. It was first launched by the national oral history project StoryCorps in 2008 and now recurs on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, when families are more likely to spend time together. It was proposed as an alternative to "Black Friday", a day many businesses see as a high volume pre-Christmas sale day.

Tens of thousands of Americans interviewed one another as part of the National Day of Listening in 2008, including President George W. Bush and his wife Laura, who were interviewed by President Bush's sister Dorothy Bush Koch. National Public Radio personalities including Scott Simon, Liane Hansen,Steve Inskeep, Renée Montagne, Frank Deford, Susan Stamberg, and Noah Adams also conducted National Day of Listening interviews and broadcast them on the air.

There are no restrictions on who may conduct an interview as part of the National Day of Listening or what type of interview format may be used. StoryCorpsprovides Do-It-Yourself Resources and equipment recommendations to guide people through the interview process. guides are available to help teachers and librarians to incorporate The National Day of Listening into the classroom and library.

StoryCorps is a national nonprofit organization modeled after the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration of the 1930s. In addition to collecting and archiving interviews at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, StoryCorps helps Americans engage with oral histories at the grassroots level.

StoryCorps' first book, Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project, was released in 2007.

National French Toast Day

November 28 is National French Toast Day!

Whether swimming in syrup, dusted with powered sugar or stuffed to the gills with fruit, French toast has had a recurring role on breakfast tables for many years - or possibly even centuries. One of the earliest references to the recipe dates back to 4th century Rome in the recipe book, "Apicius."

French toast was not invented in France. In fact, French toast was around long before France even existed as a country. The exact origins of French toast are unknown, but it isn’t surprising that humans seem to have come up with the recipe quickly, given that French toast is traditionally made out of stale bread. Bread has been a staple food for most cultures since food first began being prepared and, up until very recently, the vast majority of humans would have never dreamed of wasting any food; thus, one has to find a way to make stale bread palatable. Soaking it in milk and egg and then cooking it, seems logical enough, making a good tasty meal while not wasting any bread.

The earliest reference to doing just this dates all the way back to 4th century Rome, in a cookbook attributed to Apicius, and it is thought to predate this work by a good margin. This style of “French” toast was called Pan Dulcis. The Romans would take the bread and soak it in a milk and egg mixture, and then cook it, typically frying it in oil or butter, pretty much just like it’s made today in many countries in the world.

This practice became common throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, including making it primarily out of stale bread. Indeed, the name for French toast in France itself is “pain perdu”, which literally means “lost bread” (it is also called this in Belgium, New Orleans, Acadiana, Newfoundland, and the Congo, among other places). It’s interesting to note, for the naysayers who like to cling to the belief that it came from France, that before the French called it pain perdu, they called it “pain a la Romaine” (Roman bread).

Another popular myth as to the origins of the name “French toast”, perpetuated in such publications as Why Do Donuts Have Holes, is that French toast actually came from America, specifically, being created in 1724. The name “French” came from the chef who first made it, Joseph French. Supposedly, Mr. French was bad at grammar and when he named it, simply forgot the apostrophe, as in: Frenchs toast, instead of French’s toast. Alas, if only the Grammar Nazis of the day would have corrected him.

This story, of course, is pure fiction as there are numerous references throughout history of what is now called, in North America, French toast. Indeed, there are numerous cookbooks from the middle ages throughout Europe that even give the classical recipes for French toast. Further, the name “French toast” pre-dates the 18th century, with the earliest references popping up in the mid-17th century, before the story of the grammatically inept Joesph French. Before that time, it was also known as German toast, Spanish toast, and a variety of other names, only some of which had anything to do with the name of a country.

North Americans call it French toast for very similar reasons as to why they call fried potato strips “French fries”. Simply that they were popularized in America by French immigrants.

Luckily, you don’t have to know the history of French toast to appreciate the simplicity of the recipe. Slices of bread, preferably Challah or brioche, are drenched in an egg and milk mixture, and fried to a golden crisp in a pool of melted butter. You can add vanilla extract, orange juice, cinnamon, nutmeg or even eggnog, but just make sure that the bread is day-old so that it soaks up all that lovely egg mixture without breaking apart.

Apparently no one is immune to the buttery goodness of French toast. The French call it pain perdu (or lost bread) since the recipe lets you reclaim older or forgotten bread. In Spain, you’ll hear French toast referred to as torrijas while people in Germany call it arme ritter. People in England devour eggy bread while Hong Kong-style French toast calls for bread to be slathered with peanut butter or kaya jam before being battered and fried.

Whether called pain perdu or arme ritter, French toast proves that it’s just as sweet by any other name. Make sure you say "oui, oui" to seconds if you’re lucky enough to enjoy this buttery, delicious treat today.

National Flossing Day

Have you ever heard of the slogan, “Peace of Mouth?” When is the mouth at peace? Definitely not when a person has a toothache or a gum infection! National Flossing Day is always celebrated on a Friday after Thanksgiving Day each year.

It is believed that flossing, the process of removing food debris stuck between the teeth that mere brushing cannot eradicate, started during the time of cavemen. Tiny twigs were then used as floss. 

In 1898, the first patented dental floss, made of thin silk threads, was produced by Johnson and Johnson. It was invented by Dr. Levi Spear Parmly, a New Orleans dentist, during that time toothbrushes were quite expensive. During the World War 2, Dr. Charles Bass recommended the use of nylon fibres instead of silk threads.

The creation of the National Flossing Day was the idea of the National Flossing
Council. The first celebration was in 2000 aimed to promote better dental health.

The American Dental Association highly recommends the use of dental floss at least once a day. In coordination with the National Flossing Council and various
businesses, the National Flossing Day is celebrated.

Food companies are encouraged to serve their meals with dental floss. Dental Floss companies would give away floss in observance of this day. Floss/Food Art
Competitions are also held. Electronic greeting cards were also made to entice
people to join the celebration. Currently, other creative ways to promote flossing is solicited by the National Flossing Council through their website.

National Native American Heritage Day

American Indian Heritage Day, also known as Native American Heritage Day, annually recognizes the rich cultural heritage, history and vital contributions of American Indians on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

Some individual states, such as Maryland have taken legislative action to recognize this day as a state holiday.

Many people observe American Indian Heritage Day with activities, programs, and ceremonies that promote the historical and present day status of Native Americans and the Native American tribal governments. These events celebrate the culture, traditions, and languages of Native Americans that all Americans enjoy today

The day also encourages public elementary and secondary schools to educate students about the history, achievements, and contributions of Native Americans by providing classroom instructions and activities.

American Indian Heritage Day is a civil holiday but some individual states, such as Maryland recognize this day as a state holiday. Maryland state agencies, libraries and public schools are closed on this day and most state employees and many others have the day off from work.

Native Americans are the descendants of the aboriginal, indigenous, native people who were the original inhabitants of the United States. American Indian Heritage Day aims to highlight the relationship between the United States government and the Native American governments, as well as honor the achievements and contributions of Native Americans to the US.

Native Americans have made distinct and significant contributions to the United States and the rest of the world in many fields, including agriculture, medicine, music, language, and art. Throughout history, Native Americans have distinguished themselves as inventors, entrepreneurs, spiritual leaders, as well as scholars.

Red Planet Day

Red Planet Day takes place on November 28th. It commemorates the launch of the Mariner 4 spacecraft on November 28, 1964. Mariner 4 performed the first successful flyby of the planet Mars returning the first pictures of the Martian surface. It was designed to conduct closeup scientific observations of Mars and to transmit these observations to Earth. 

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second smallest planet in the Solar System. Named after the Roman god of war, it is often described as the "Red Planet" because the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the volcanoes, valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth.

The rotational period and seasonal cycles of Mars are likewise similar to those of Earth, as is the tilt that produces the seasons. Mars is the site of Olympus Mons, the second highest known mountain within the Solar System (the tallest on a planet), and of Valles Marineris, one of the largest canyons. Mars has two known moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are small and irregularly shaped.

Sinkie Day

Sinkie Day is celebrated by enjoying your Thanksgiving leftovers in a more casual way -- over your sink. With the unusually large and tantalizing selection of leftovers just feet away in the fridge, no need to wait until a normal meal to get a mini re-run of the prior feast. Simply grab the Tupperware or foil package(s) of choice and head over to the sink for a quick second breakfast, elevenses or lupper. Though officially stated as the day after Thanksgiving, there are numerous reports of this celebration starting on Thursday evening.

This holiday was started in 1991 by the The International Association of People Who Dine Over the Kitchen Sink (IAOPWDOTKS). They maintain the website in honor of this holiday. They define a "Sinkie" as someone who occasionally dines over the kitchen sink.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Holidays and Observances for November 27 2014

Thanksgiving Day

Each year on the fourth Thursday in November, Americans gather for a day of feasting, football and family. While today’s Thanksgiving celebrations would likely be unrecognizable to attendees of the original 1621 harvest meal, it continues to be a day for Americans to come together around the table—albeit with some updates to pilgrim’s menu.

In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.

Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event, and that the Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer. Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations.

Pilgrims held their second Thanksgiving celebration in 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest and prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on an annual or occasional basis became common practice in other New England settlements as well. During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.

In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition. In 1827, the noted magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author, among countless other things, of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance; instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. Turkey, a Thanksgiving staple so ubiquitous it has become all but synonymous with the holiday, may or may not have been on offer when the Pilgrims hosted the inaugural feast in 1621. Today, however, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat the bird—whether roasted, baked or deep-fried—on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Volunteering is a common Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate.

Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. Presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters.

Beginning in the mid-20th century and perhaps even earlier, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement. A number of U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.

For some scholars, the jury is still out on whether the feast at Plymouth really constituted the first Thanksgiving in the United States. Indeed, historians have recorded other ceremonies of thanks among European settlers in North America that predate the Pilgrims’ celebration. In 1565, for instance, the Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilé invited members of the local Timucua tribe to a dinner in St. Augustine, Florida, after holding a mass to thank God for his crew’s safe arrival. On December 4, 1619, when 38 British settlers reached a site known as Berkeley Hundred on the banks of Virginia’s James River, they read a proclamation designating the date as “a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

Some Native Americans and others take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public, and especially to schoolchildren. In their view, the traditional narrative paints a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the deaths of millions. Since 1970, protesters have gathered on the day designated as Thanksgiving at the top of Cole’s Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to commemorate a “National Day of Mourning.” Similar events are held in other parts of the country.

Although the American concept of Thanksgiving developed in the colonies of New England, its roots can be traced back to the other side of the Atlantic. Both the Separatists who came over on the Mayflower and the Puritans who arrived soon after brought with them a tradition of providential holidays—days of fasting during difficult or pivotal moments and days of feasting and celebration to thank God in times of plenty.

As an annual celebration of the harvest and its bounty, moreover, Thanksgiving falls under a category of festivals that spans cultures, continents and millennia. In ancient times, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the fall harvest. Thanksgiving also bears a resemblance to the ancient Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. Finally, historians have noted that Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores.

National Bavarian Cream Pie Day

November 27 is National Bavarian Cream Pie Day. Bavarian cream pie is a delicious, chilled dessert made with a cooked egg custard layered with whipped cream and toppings in a pie shell.  

Bavarian cream was originally a French (or German?) cold dessert of egg custard stiffened with gelatin, mixed with whipped cream (sometimes with fruit  purée or other flavors), then set in a mold, or used as a filling for cakes and pastries.

No one is sure about the origin of Bavarian cream, but during the late 17th  and early 18th centuries many French chefs worked at the court of the Wittelsbach Princes (a German family that ruled Bavaria from the 12th century to 1918). This would have given them the contact to have learned it in Bavaria. The famous French chef Carême (1783-1833) gives recipes for it in the early 18th century. 

The suffix 'crème' in German speaking lands, is the term for the  gelatin mold - (Schokolatencreme, Weincreme, etc.) and there are many variations,  flavored with chocolate, lemon, kirsch, etc.

So - in summary, the most likely origin is that the French chefs working for the Bavarian rulers (the Wittelsbachs) learned something either the same or very  similar while working in Bavaria, and when they returned to France continued to make it, and called it Crème Bavaroise (Bavarian Cream). And since, in addition  to being served in a gelatin mold, it was also used as a cake filling, the next  step to its use as a doughnut filling at Dunkin Donuts was inevitable.

To celebrate this day, make some divine Bavarian cream pie for you and your family to enjoy!

National Day of Mourning

The National Day of Mourning is an annual protest organized since 1970 by Native Americans of New England on the fourth Thursday of November, the same day as Thanksgiving in the United States. It coincides with an unrelated but similar protest, Unthanksgiving Day, held on the West Coast.

The organizers consider the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day as a reminder of the democide and continued suffering of the Native American peoples. Participants in the National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. They want to educate Americans about history. The event was organized in a period of Native American activism and general cultural protests. The protest is organized by the United American Indians of New England (UAINE). Since it was first organized, social changes have resulted in major revisions to the portrayal of United States history, the government's and settlers' relations with Native American peoples, and renewed appreciation for Native American culture.

The United American Indians of New England (UAINE) organized their protest to bring publicity to the continued misrepresentation of Native American and colonial experience. They believed that people needed to be educated about what happened when the Pilgrims arrived in North America.

A century ago heavy immigration brought millions of southern and eastern Europeans to the United States. Educators and civic groups thought it necessary toassimilate the new citizens. The new arrivals were taught to view the Pilgrims as models for their own families. The tale of the "First Thanksgiving" was an essential element of this curriculum. The story of the Native Americans and Pilgrims sharing a meal of turkey became part of United States tradition. The story tells of the mutually beneficial relationship between these groups.

UAINE, by contrast, says that the Pilgrims did not find a new and empty land. Every inch of land they claimed was Indian land. They also say that the Pilgrims immigrated as part of a commercial venture and that they introduced sexism, racism, anti-homosexual bigotry, jails, and the class system.

Governor John Winthrop proclaimed the first official "Day of Thanksgiving" in 1637 to celebrate the return of men that had gone to Mystic, Connecticut to fight against the Pequot, an action that resulted in the deaths of more than 700 Pequot women, children, and men, which their people called a massacre. In 1863, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln authorized that the fourth Thursday of November be set aside to give thanks and praise for the nation's blessings. Thanksgiving became part of American culture.

UAINE believes that the Native American and colonial experience continue to be misrepresented. It asks why the "First Thanksgiving" was not celebrated or related back to the first colony at Jamestown. According to UAINE, the circumstances at Jamestown were too terrible to be used as a national myth. The settlers turned to cannibalism to survive. The UAINE used the National Day of Mourning to educate people about the history of the Wampanoag people. UAINE representatives say the only true element of the Thanksgiving story is that the pilgrims would not have survived their first years in New England without the aid of the Wampanoag.

Since 1921, the 300th year after the first Thanksgiving, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts stages an annual reenactment of Thanksgiving. People gather at a church on the site of the Pilgrims' original meeting house, in 17th century costume. After prayers and a sermon, they march to Plymouth Rock. This annual event had become a tourist attraction.

The UNAINE organized the first National Day of Mourning on the 350th anniversary of the Pilgrims' arrival on Wampanoag land. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts planned to celebrate friendly relations between English ancestors and the Wampanoag. Wampanoag leader Frank James, also known asWamsutta, was invited to make a speech at the celebration. But, when the anniversary planners reviewed his speech [4] in advance, they decided it was not appropriate for the celebration. The reason given was, "...the theme of the anniversary celebration is brotherhood and anything inflammatory would have been out of place."

Wamsutta based his speech on a Pilgrim's account of the first year on Indian land. The book recounted the opening of graves, taking the Indians' corn and bean supplies, and selling Wampanoag as slaves for 220 shillings each. After receiving a revised speech, written by a public relations person, Wamsutta decided he would not attend the celebration. To protest the silencing of the American Indian people, he and his supporters went to neighboring Cole's Hill, near the statue of Massasoit, the leader of the Wampanoag when the Pilgrims landed. Overlooking the Plymouth Harbor and the Mayflower replica, Wamsutta gave his speech. This was the first National Day of Mourning.

National Pins And Needles Day

When you hear the words, “pins and needles,” what comes foremost in your mind? Is it sewing or people making clothes? But probably, you may also think of that particular sensation that comes when you are anticipating something. After all, pins and needles also mean anticipation. So, shall we anticipate this year’s celebration of the National Pins and Needles Day? National Pins And Needles Day is always observed, in the United States of America, on the 27 day of November, each year.

The National Pins and Needles Day is a special day which remembers the opening of a Broadway historical and blockbuster play in 1937. This pro-labor performance ran 1,108 times at the Princess Theatre of New York City. Its cast consisted of members of the International Garment Workers Union who were really not performers.

Here is a list of fun activities we suggest for you to do on this year’s National Pins And Needles Day:
  • Blog online;
  • Post a reminder to all your Facebook friends on the event;
  • Send e-Greetings or e-Cards to your virtual friends;
  • Write a pro-labor article and post it on the web;
  • Learn more through research about the play, Pins And Needles;
  • Organize a stage play at school or work;
  • Send pins and needles as presents to friends celebrating their birthday on the special day;
  • Host a tea party at home for kids featuring games involving pins and needles;
  • Create a work of art by using pins and needles; or,
  • Bake a cake and decorate it artistically with icing or frosting shaped like pins and needles.
Turtle Adoption Day

November 27th is Turtle Adoption Day! Have you ever heard of a Mini-turtle?  Itty-bitty.  Adorable. Only costs $1.  Lives in a bowl of water.

Dogs and cats make great companions but they may not be the right pets for everyone.  Maybe you’re allergic to pet hair or you don’t have the space for a large animal.  If you can’t have a dog or a cat, but still have lots of love to give and want to experience the joys of pet ownership, what are you to do?

There are many things to consider before adopting a pet turtle.  These guys live a long time, making your decision to adopt a long term commitment.  In the wild, Red Eared Sliders (RES) may enjoy a lifespan of 70 years.  In captivity, RES can be expected to live 35 years with proper care.  Although they’re the most popular pet turtle, most people are in the dark about what they actually need to live long, healthy and happy lives.  Sadly, many RES don’t make it past the first year or two.

Before adopting a pet turtle you must do your research.  RES naturally live in rivers, lakes and ponds.  RES require very specialized environments to thrive in captivity.  Unless you plan on building an awesome turtle pond in your backyard, it’s likely you’ll be keeping your turtle indoors.  Your potential new friend will need a water tank to swim in.  A 1 inch-long baby slider requires a 20 gallon aquarium.  Bigger turtles need more space: at least 10 gallons of water per 1 inch of shell, with an additional 10-20 gallons for an additional turtle, depending on its size.  Your turtle needs to have a dry basking area where he can crawl out of the water and dry off completely.  You don’t want him getting trench foot (nasty skin disease)!  It is extremely important that RES have access to lamps that provide heat, UVA, and UVB rays.  This is necessary for them to produce essential vitamins, to prevent fatal illnesses such as Metabolic Bone Disease, and for their overall psychological well being.  You will also need a submersible heater to maintain the proper water temperature (temps not cold enough to hibernate yet not warm enough to be active and healthy are known to turtle keepers as the Death Zone!), a water conditioning solution to remove harmful chemicals and chlorine from the water, and a good filter to keep the water clean.  RES will be drinking and living in the same water they defecate in, so it is crucial to maintain a clean tank and perform frequent full water changes.

RES are inquisitive creatures and love to examine things. When one of my turtles finds something to explore, the other rushes over to join in the investigation.  “What is this?” they ask. A toy frog perched on my basking platform? Attack!!  A fallen treat is like buried treasure beneath the smooth river rocks in the bottom of the tank, just waiting to be discovered.  My turtles are easily entertained and love attention!  They watch, listen, follow me and they beg!  RES are notorious beggars. You should learn to be firm and not give in too easily.  At mealtime, turtles enjoy a variety of veggies (but only certain vegetables are safe for turtle consumption) they need a little protein too.  It’s best to feed turtles in separate buckets (they must be in water to swallow food), this keeps the tank cleaner longer, and prevents food aggression between turtles.

Keeping RES requires specialized knowledge, care and demands regular labor.  Children are not capable of caring for RES and should not be left with them unsupervised.  Turtles have the potential to carry salmonella; hygiene should be a concern in keeping a pet turtle.  Always wash with soap and water after touching turtles or their water.  It is illegal in the USA to sell turtles fewer than 4 inches in length because children are likely to put them in their mouths.  While the sale of turtles fewer than 4 inches in length is illegal, it is perfectly legal to own, care for, and adopt turtles of any age or size.

Whether you want to raise your turtle from a baby, or start out with a more hardy adult, adoption is always the way to go.  Turtles sold in pet stores may have been shipped out in mass from breeders and quite often are ill or diseased. There are tons of turtles out there already up for adoption.  You can find them in local listings (i.e. CraigsList), where they may even come with some of the equipment you’ll need to care for them.  They are often available at local animal shelters, you can locate them using pet adoption listings like Turtle Times and Petfinder.  You can also contact a reptile rescue organization that specializes in adoption and re-homing, such as the California Turtle and Tortoise Club.

If you are considering adopting a turtle it’s important to keep in mind that keeping RES can be expensive and require a lot of time and labor.  Many new turtle owners think turtles will be low maintenance pets because the people selling the turtles deceive customers in order to make a sale.  My sister, for example, bought me two baby turtles for a surprise birthday present five years ago.  The man sold them to her for 1 dollar and told her they could live in a small bowl on the table.  Well, they definitely cost more to care for than they did up front!  Though they start out as tiny quarter-sized hatchlings, they can grow up to 12 inches in shell length, and live for a really long time.  Just like with any other pet, turtles require regular vet visits to stay healthy.  If you can take on the responsibilities of turtle ownership, you can have a new friend for life.