Saturday, November 15, 2014

Holidays and Observances for November 15 2014

America Recycles Day

America Recycles Day (ARD) is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products. ARD is celebrated annually on November 15. The World Recycling Day celebrated in most countries, though falls on July 8. Thousands of events are held across the U.S. to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and to encourage American to sign personal pledges to recycle and buy products made from recycled materials.

Started by the recycling sector organization National Recycling Coalition in 1997, America Recycles Day has been a program of national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful since 2009. As the managing entity of America Recycles Day, Keep America Beautiful provides promotional and marketing support and resources to a network of local event organizers. It is sponsored by private and public entities and the EPA.

Although America may not enjoy much of a reputation for environmentalism on the global stage, in some US cities recycling levels are much higher than, for example, in the UK.

The first recycling mill was Waste Techniques, built in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania in 1972. Waste Techniques was sold to Frank Keel in 1978, and resold to BFI in 1981. Woodbury, New Jersey was the first city in the United States to mandate recycling. Led by Rose Rowan in the early 1970s, the idea of towing a "recycling" trailer behind a waste management vehicle to enable the collection of trash and recyclable material at the same time emerged. Other towns and cities soon followed suit, and today many cities in the U.S. make recycling a requirement.

In 1987, the Mobro 4000 barge hauled garbage from New York to North Carolina; where it was denied. It was then sent to Belize; where it was denied as well. Finally, the barge returned to New York and the garbage was incinerated. The incident led to heated discussions in the media about waste disposal and recycling. The incident is often referred to as igniting the recycling "hysteria" of the 1990s.

American Enterprise Day

American Enterprise Day is observed on November 15 each year. On this day, U.S. residents recognize free enterprise and how it has contributed to the economy.

Free enterprise means that a business is not restricted by government subsidies or regulations. Instead, the business operates under the laws of supply and demand. If a particular product or service is in great demand but supply is low, then it becomes more valuable to the consumer. As a result the price goes up. When supply is high and demand is low, then the price falls.

Healthy competition between businesses is a good thing for consumers. It helps to keep prices in line. Business owners also know that in order to keep customers coming back, they need to offer their products or services at a fair price. Good customer service policies are also a must; otherwise, buyers will choose to do business with another company. Thanks to the free enterprise system, they can make that choice.

Jimmy Carter made a Presidential Proclamation on August 8, 1980 directing that American Enterprise Day be observed. Chevron Corporation provided a grant to fund a program called "Getting Involved" in the 1980s to expose young people to capitalism through Future Business Leaders of America.

Future Business Leaders of America is a non-profit association that helps prepare students for careers in business. Young people from middle school up to the post-secondary level are able to join this organization, which now has 244,000 members and 11,000 advisers.

Local Chapters of Future Business Leaders of America observe Enterprise Day each year. It's an opportunity to not only celebrate the free enterprise system and the advantages of doing business in this way, but also to educate other people about it. Projects undertaken by local groups have included the following:
  • Presenting ideas about business in the form of skits and songs to elementary school students
  • Preparing activity books for students in primary grades (K-5)
  • Running an essay contest for high school students; the winning entry is published in the local newspaper
  • Providing students in Grade 8 with information about the free enterprise system and how it affects the job market
  • Preparing a workbook for Grade 8 students with tips on how to choose an occupation, how to research salary information, and how to apply for a job
  • Have local business operators share information about the joys and headaches of being their own boss
  • Conduct a seminar about the challenges that women or visible minorities face when running their own business
Enterprise Day is an occasion that deserves to be celebrated. Unless you are self-employed or working for a government agency, the fact that you have a job is due to the fact that someone took a chance on starting their own business. Part of the reason that it is observed is to acknowledge that people living in the United States can choose the occupation they would like to pursue. Business owners make it possible for people buy products and services that they need in their everyday lives.

Through an organization like Future Business Leaders of America, young people who are curious about the world of business can learn the fundamentals of becoming entrepreneurs from experienced advisers. They have the opportunity to participate in activities that will increase their confidence, and also to make valuable contacts with like-minded young people. These contacts can prove to be important in future years as they launch their own business ventures.

I Love to Write Day

People of all ages will celebrate I Love To Write Day on November 15. Founded in 2002 by Delaware author John Riddle, I Love To Write Day is now celebrated in over 30,000 schools all across the United States. Bookstores, libraries, community centers and everyday people also join in the fun.

“My goal for I Love To Write Day is to have people of all ages spend time writing,” says John Riddle, Founder. “They can write a poem, a love letter, a greeting card, an essay, a short story, start a novel, finish a novel…the possibilities are endless. But I want people to take the time to put their thoughts down on paper. They will be amazed at the results. Writing can be fun, but also challenging. People need to be challenged, and writing is but one of many creative ways to express yourself. I am very excited because I Love To Write Day activities are already being planned all across the United States. When people become stronger writers, they become better communicators, and everyone wins.”

Writers from all across the country are supporting I Love To Write Day. “When we write well, we precede the writing with clear thought,” says Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, director of the professional writing program at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. “Thus, quality writing is the daughter of quality thinking, which we need in abundance.”

Diane Griffin, author of three books, including Safe Text: Protecting Your Teen From the Dangers of Texting, believes that writing, especially for students, is how they make their ‘thinking visible.’ “This allows them to make their ideas more clear and concrete, and gives them a strong foundation on which all of their future work will be judged.

”Writing is a form of self-expression—it allows students to explore who they are, what they think and more importantly, how to communicate those thoughts to those around them. Writing is not done in isolation, but is meant to be shared with others—allowing good writers to be more aware of how people perceive them on and off the written page.

Thomas Smith, author of Something Stirs, knows how important writing is for all of us. “From a thank-you note to the sonnets of Shakespeare, writing reveals the things of our hearts. Through writing we share everything from our summer vacations to fictional worlds filled with wonder. We write from the depths of our heart, the edge of our funny bone, and every place in between. And the only prerequisite is that you do it from your own heart. Even in our technology-driven world, writing keeps us connected and provides a conduit for our creativity.”

Ken Lang, author of Walking Among the Dead: True Stories from a Homicide Detective, says that people of all ages should write because “while we as humanity are woven together from a common fabric into uniquely decorated tapestries, writing becomes the prolific means by which we can convey our individual thoughts, perspectives, and feelings to others through varying lights.”

Many Governors from across the United States are recognizing the importance of writing, and are encouraging their residents to celebrate I Love To Write Day on November 15. In fact, Governors from the following states have “officially proclaimed” November 15 I Love To Write Day: Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan and Texas.

“Everyone can get involved in I Love To Write Day,” says Riddle. “Just visit the Website, I Love To Write Day at and you will find suggestions and ideas on how to hold special I Love To Write Day activities in your community.

International Games Day

International Games Day @ your library is a chance to celebrate games and libraries, not to mention the communities that both help to create and sustain, with other library-lovers around the world. On Saturday, November 15, 2014, people all over the planet will join together to celebrate the mutually-reinforcing power of play and learning.

And when we say "all over the world", we mean it. International Games Day @ your library has visited every continent on Earth - even Antarctica!

Basically, it's just a date when a whole bunch of libraries all over the world agree to play games in a spirit of co-operation.

The games can be anything the library and community in question likes: previously, libraries have hosted "learn to play chess" days, board games, card games, trivia games, tabletop roleplaying games, online videogame tournaments, and social games that travel the entire world.

But this description doesn't come close to doing it justice. Here are some actual comments from public and library staff on previous days:
  • “Some of the things I overheard this year: 'I didn't know the library was this cool!', 'Can we do this every month?', 'Do we have to leave?', 'I love my life!' "
  • “Where else would you find such a mix of ages interacting and having a fun time? In a family, of course, but none of these people were related... it was just a cross section of the community.”
  • “We had an 80 year old senior who comes to play Wii bowling with other seniors on Friday mornings.  Some teens challenged her to a game of Wii bowling…and she WON!”
  • “My favorite part of the day had to be hearing the teens cheer for each other during the Brawl contests and clap at the end of the battles. They all got along so well, even though we had quite a range of ‘teenagers’ – 8 to 18!”
  • “The program helped to give parents ideas on ways to become more involved with their children.”
  • “The majority of our younger patrons come from homes where Spanish is the first language. We saw many youth communicating between cultures and using Spanish and English to teach each other.”
  • “There were complaints during the semi-finals of the chess tournament that one of the finalists only won because the other finalist was giving her tips - because he would rather play against the little girl than her big brother. Whether that was true or not, she can't have needed the tips overly, since she wound up winning the final round as well...”
  • "When I peeked into the room, I was surprised to see that all of the teens were--at one point in time at least--playing the board games rather than video games."
  • “This is the coolest day! The library is awesome.”
Libraries are about sharing culture and information, and games are a form of culture that you often have to share – you often can't experience them without another player!

They're also good for brain health, and foster important life skills like socialization, theory of mind and systems literacy. Plus, they're fun!

Whether video games, tabletop games, social games or other kinds of games, they’re all a part of culture whose importance is only becoming clearer with time. And that means we need to foster the kind of smart engagement that libraries support, for games as well as books. Learn more about these issues and join the discussion.

From American Libraries magazine, watch a teen gaming tournament at Oak Park (Ill.) Public Library, with an interview with Young Adult Librarian Monica Harris, who explains why and how the library got into gaming and the benefits it offers the library and the community.

National Bundt Day

Snack on a slice of this - November 15 is National Bundt Day!

Everyone loves Bundt cake, the beautifully shaped cake from the distinctive, ring-shaped mold. The first Bundt pan was created in 1950 by H. David Dalquist, founder of the Nordic Ware company.

According to the company's history, the Minneapolis Chapter of the Hadassah Society asked David and his wife, Dotty, to make a traditional kuglehopf (or gugelhopf) pan. Dalquist obliged but started marketing his pan to department stores as a bund pan (the German word "bund" means a gathering or alliance, which the cake was perfect for!). He then added a "t" for trademark protection.

The popularity of Bundt cakes didn't really take off until the 1960s, when a Texas housewife won second place in the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest with her Tunnel of Fudge cake.

Bundt cakes are a good choice for beginner cooks who want to make a cake that looks good and that's actually going to turn out. Just make sure you prep the pan first with cooking spray or flour so the cake won't stick.

Nordic Ware has increased their offerings in recent years, with lots more shapes than the customary circular one with the hole in the center, including a cathedral, a French fleur-de-lis, a rose and even a castle. Since 1950, Nordic Ware has sold an estimated 60 million Bundt pans. That's a lot of cake!

National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day

The 15th of November is a day dedicated to fridges filled with USO's -- unidentified shriveled objects. 

It's not such a bad time of year to tackle it, actually. You'll need the space for the holidays coming up, and when you're desperately rooting in the fridge for stuff to feed to unexpected guests, you'll want to be sure that you don't haul out something that will kill anyone (unintentionally, at least.) It's also a good time to check the temperature in your fridge, before you begin storing all kinds of expensive holiday food in it.

Suggested tasks involve:
  • Take everything out;
  • Discard opened jars of things that you know you just aren't going to use again, or in the foreseeable future;
  • Wash down and disinfect the inside walls of the refrigerator, the shelves, and all along the door seal;
  • Wash everything going back in - bins, racks, and even the outsides of jars;
  • Vacuum the coils at the back of the fridge, if your model has them;
  • Clean the floor underneath the fridge;
  • Clean the top of the fridge.
Produce drawers can be the worst, where vegetables have decomposed over the past year into brownish gels. Some people have vegetable crispers that are so bad they should almost call in a hazardous waste disposal team; they joke that the search for new life forms should start in their crisper drawers. 

It would appear that the idea for a "Clean Out Your Fridge Day" might have started with Whirlpool Corporation, starting in 1995, aiming for it to be the third Wednesday in November.

It appears to be around 2000 that a more general awareness of it came about, when E-Card companies that year listed it as a holiday for the 15th of November, and people made postings about it being the 15th of November (which turned up in searches that people did in later years.)

In 2001, the E-Card companies posted it again as 15 November, not having realized that the scheme intended by Whirlpool was a moving date attached to the third Wednesday of the month, which would have made it the 14th of November in 2001. People with personal, home-spun websites compiling dates of special days included the 15th of November as "Clean Out Your Fridge Day", and other people copied their lists and reposted them.

At the same time, Whirlpool seems to have lost interest in it, or had its publicity lost amongst the voices of other sources saying the 15th. was unable to find any publicity from Whirlpool on the matter from 2001 to 2003 inclusive.

In 2004, Whirlpool in partnership with Glad products declared 4 to 10th April to be National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Week. But it seems to have been too late to change the 15th November date that got stuck in people's minds. Even Emiril, the American chef, wrote in his daily notes for 15 November 2005: "I just learned that today is 'National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.' (Retrieved August 2006 from In fact, though, in Whirlpool's original scheme, it would have been the next day, Wednesday, 16th November.

The 15th of November seems to make the most sense. People always have an easier time remembering fixed dates such as Christmas, than they do moving dates attached to a scheme they don't understand, such as Easter is. And it does come right before the start of the holiday rush. In any event, through constant repetition of a misunderstanding, the 15th of November has indeed become Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.

National Philanthropy Day

National Philanthropy Day, November 15, is the special day set aside to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy—and those people active in the philanthropic community—have made to our lives, our communities and our world.

We celebrate National Philanthropy Day because of the extraordinary impact of the charitable sector and the increasing role it plays in our societies and countries around the world. Billions of dollars are given every year. Millions of programs and services administered to those in needs. Individuals are connected to cause, and to each other. Civic participation, and important societal bonds, are created and strengthened through philanthropy as we work to improve the quality of life for all people.

In the United States alone, there are more than 1 million charitable organizations, and Americans give more than $300 billion annually to charitable causes (Giving USA Foundation). In Canada, more than 88,000 charities provide countless services to millions of Canadians, who in turn contribute more than $10 billion annually to those organizations (Canada Revenue Agency). In Latin America and Asia, with governments no longer able to provide enough funding for social services, charitable sectors are growing rapidly and creating programs to meet the needs of their countries’ citizens. The quality of life for all people—everything from education, healthcare, the environment and the arts, to name only a few—would be far less if not for these organizations.

National Raisin Bran Cereal Day

National Raisin Bran Cereal Day is celebrated and enjoyed each year on November 15.

Since 1926, raisin bran cereal has been manufactured by a number of different companies under a variety of brand names, including Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, General Mills, Total Raisin Bran and Ralcorp’s Post Raisin Bran.  U.S. Mills introduced Skinner’s Raisin Bran to the United States in 1926 which was the first brand on the market.

Skinner Manufacturing Company created Raisin-BRAN in 1925, trademarked the name in 1926, and sold the breakfast cereal without any fear of competition until the early 1940’s, when Kellogg and Post got into the raising and bran flake cereal business. In 1942, Skinner sued Kellogg and Post to enjoin the use of the term Raisin-Bran, saying that it infringed on Skinner’s trademark and constituted unfair competition. Unfortunately for Skinner, the lawsuit failed.

The courts determined that the term Raisin-BRAN was merely descriptive of the product’s ingredients and was thus not entitled to protection as a trademark. After all, the court said, “‘pie containing raisins is ‘raisin pie,’ . . . bread containing raisins is ‘raisin bread’, and . . . muffins containing raisins are “raisin muffins.'”

Skinner also argued that Raisin-BRAN was so connected with its own cereal that Kellogg’s and Post’s use of the term allowed them unfairly to palm off their own cereals as essentially those of Skinner. The appellate court also dispatched with that quickly:

In the instant cases one reasonably can believe that to permit the appellees to use the words ‘Raisin Bran’ as descriptive of their respective products will not result in their products being sold as the product of appellant, provided the appellees furnish to the public adequate means of identifying the source of their raisin brans. Whatever the trade name ‘Raisin-BRAN’ may have meant prior to the advent of appellees’ competing products, it is a reasonable conclusion that the words ‘raisin bran’ have at all times meant bran with raisins in it.

Yep, bran with raisins it. Just like adding a bunch of raisins to Total™. Or not.

A good source of dietary fiber, raisin bran cereal is the star of the day, not just at breakfast but all day, on National Raisin Bran Cereal Day.

National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day

Come out of your shell - November 15 is National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day!

You don't have to be a hermit to enjoy one of these peculiarly-named holiday cookies, but you just might want to stash a recipe for your next cookie swap.

Recipes for large, round, spice cookies with raisins had existed for centuries, called tea cakes. One of the mysteries is how the name hermits arose in the US. Another mystery is when the cookies became square, soft, and brown as they usually are today.

The American History Cookbook uses a published recipe from an 1877 Portland, Maine cookbook.

You have a excellent chance to find earlier recipes with the name "hermits." This is one of the easier mysteries on the list, as food historians have not studied hermits, nor read through the cookbooks of the 1860s and 1870s well. Since this site has not even picked an early recipe for soft, brown, square hermits, that part of mystery is wide open! Some say that the cookies were named because they look like a hermit's brown sack-cloth robe, but the earliest recipes are for white and round cookies. One possible lead is that the Moravians, an ethno-religious group well-known for thin spice cookies in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, were sometimes called "herrnhutter" in German or Dutch, and that might have sounded like "hermits" to an English-speaking cook. Look for a cookie based on chopped raisins.

The treat itself resembles something of an oatmeal raisin cookie, but a little lumpier. Soft and chewy, it is chock full of raisins, dates, nuts and spiced with cinnamon, allspice and cloves, hence the "spicy" part.

Bring this Victorian cookie back for your holiday get-together and share the love by making an old-fashioned recipe.

But you don't have to hide these hermits away after the holidays - you should be free to snack all year long!

Pack Your Mom's Lunch Day

On November 15th of each year the world runs a little in reverse in some areas of the states. Yes, it's National Pack your Mom lunch day! Instead of moms everywhere prepping their kids meals for school, the kids can fix up mommy with something special to take to work. The day is coordinated by Betty Crocker and some boys and girls clubs. It is meant to serve as a fun night before and the morning of November 15th. Moms celebrate with their kids by preparing brown bag or packed lunches together. Kids can create and include drawings, poems, and the like to surprise mom when lunch time arrives.

The event is called "Pack Your Mom Lunch Day." It is being coordinated by Betty Crocker and some Boys and Girls Clubs in both Chicago and Philadelphia, although there is a 1-800 number for others around the nation to call to receive a brochure.

Basically, the event uses crafts and activities to promote wholesome lunches and maybe bring some light-heartedness to working parents who might otherwise skip lunch.

The projects include making and decorating lunch bags (can use plain paper bags, crayons, markers); making things to put into the bags (cutouts, poems, essays or just putting in items from school such as papers with good grades); and then finding an easy ready-to-make meal (Betty Crocker is providing the clubs with Bowl Appetits) to put into the bags. Then the children give their parents the lunch the next morning before taking off to school.