Monday, November 24, 2014

Holidays and Observances for November 24 2014

Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day

What’s your unique talent? Can you make a perfect soufflé? Maybe you know where to find the best bargains in town. Perhaps you’re resourceful or crafty and can find a hundred and one uses for an old piece of wood. Or it could be that you give the world’s best hugs. No matter what your special gift is, be sure to share it on November 24, officially dubbed as Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day.

Although there is no known official history or origin for this day, it’s simply a great way to celebrate individuality. Interestingly enough, this day occurs near the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. The timing couldn't be better! Now is your chance to brush up on your special gifts in time to share them with family and friends around the dinner table. Who knows? You just might start a new family tradition!

When it comes to unique talents, not all of us are cut out to be world-class singers or super slam dunk basketball players. But have no fear; there is room for all kinds of talent on this day. In fact some of the best are those that are odd and amusing.

Among some of the weird and strange feats out there include ear wiggling, contorting double-jointed fingers, balancing a spoon on one’s nose or catching a stack of coins resting on one’s elbow. Then there are musical talents like playing tunes on teeth or other parts of the body.

There’s no limit to the number of unusual abilities possessed by people. Just search the Internet or check out Guinness World Records for some of the fantastic, freaky and even frightening talents displayed by ordinary everyday people just like us.

American poet and author Maya Angelou said, “I believe that every person is born with talent.” So even if you don’t think you have any special gifts, chances are that you do. The thing is that you don’t recognize them and more than likely, you compare yourself to other people—you know the ones who shine at work or can swing a golf club like a pro.

So how can you find and develop your talent? There are many ways to go about it. To discover your unique gift or gifts, one of the easiest ways is to ask others. Question the people who know you best—family, friends, trusted colleagues. Ask them to describe your strong points or the things that you do better than anyone else. Their answers might give you clues and in fact surprise you. Oftentimes others see things that we’re not aware of. For example, you might think hosting a party is fun and no big deal, but your friends might say otherwise. They might view your get-together as the social event of the season. From food and arrangements to making guests feel spectacular, you do it best. Your talent was there all along. Who knows? You could run with that and start a business or just relish in the fact that you are a fabulous host.

Another way to spot those skills is by taking assessments, quizzes and tests. There are varieties out there that can lead you on the way to finding out where your abilities lie. Consider looking into the Meyers-Briggs or Strong Interest Inventory to get you started.

Finally, examine your own behavior. What are the things that you like to do? Is there a hobby or activity that makes you lose track of time? That’s an indication right there. After all, don’t we enjoy doing things we’re good at? And of course we want to develop those pursuits even further.

As we commemorate Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day, acknowledge the things you do well and continue exploring your gifts!

D.B. Cooper Day

D.B. Cooper became famous on the eve of Thanksgiving in 1971. Police have failed to find him dead or alive since he leaped from an airborne airliner that year.

Around 4:00 PM that afternoon, a man named Dan Cooper entered Portland International Airport and purchased a one-way ticket to Seattle-Tacoma Airport for $20. He was assigned an aisle seat, 18C, for a 4:35 PM flight. The jet carried 36 passengers that day, not including the pilot, Captain William Scott, the first officer Bob Rataczak, the flight engineer H.E. Anderson, and two flight attendants, Tina Mucklow and Florence Schaffner.

An accent-less, middle-aged, white male in a dark suit and tie, Dan Cooper drew little attention boarding the flight. After the jet took off, Cooper handed Florence Schaffner a note. In the sixties and seventies, men traveling alone commonly slipped phone numbers or hotel room numbers to flight attendants, so Schaffner placed the note in her pocket and ignored it. The next time she passed, Cooper motioned for her to come closer. He told her that she better read the note and warned that he had a bomb, nodding towards his suitcase. Schaffner went to the galley to read the note. She showed it to the other flight attendant and together they hurried to the cockpit to show the pilot. After he read the note, the pilot immediately contacted air traffic control. They in turn contacted the Seattle police, who informed the FBI. The FBI placed an urgent call to the airline’s president, Donald Nyrop, who demanded that they comply with Cooper’s demands. Doubtless, Nyrop wanted to avoid any negative publicity that such a disaster would bring.

Cooper instructed the flight attendant to return the note, wary of potentially incriminating evidence. Because of this, the exact wording of his note is unknown. Schaffner recalled that the handwritten ink note demanded $200,000 in cash and two sets of parachutes. Cooper wanted these items delivered to the jet when it arrived at Seattle-Tacoma Airport and claimed that if they didn’t comply with these demands, he would blow up the plane. Everyone who read the note agreed that it contained the phrase “no funny business.”

Cooper moved next to the window so that when Schaffner returned, she sat in his aisle seat. He opened his suitcase wide enough for her to get a glimpse of wires and two cylinders-potential dynamite sticks. He then directed her to return to the cockpit and to tell the pilot to stay in the air until the money and parachutes were ready. After receiving the message, the pilot announced over the intercom that the jet would circle before landing due to a mechanical problem. Most of the passengers were unaware of the hijacking.

Cooper was very precise about his demands for money. He wanted the $200,000 in $20 bills, which would weigh around 21 pounds. If smaller bills were used, it would add extra weight and could be dangerous for his skydive. Larger bills would weigh less, but they would be more difficult to pass. He even specified that he wanted bills with serial numbers that were random, not sequential. The FBI agents gave him bills with random serial numbers but made sure that all of them began with the code letter L.

Acquiring the parachutes was a lot harder than collecting the $200,000. Tacoma’s McChord Air Force Base offered to provide the parachutes but Cooper rejected this offer. He wanted civilian parachutes with user-operated ripcords, not military-issued ones. Seattle cops eventually contacted the owner of a skydiving school. His school was closed but they persuaded him to sell them four parachutes. When the officers had the parachutes, they hurried to the Seattle-Tacoma Airport.

Cooper’s hijacking note did not directly explain his plan to skydive from the plane but his demands led officials to that assumption. Since he had asked for an extra parachute, they assumed he planned to take a passenger or crew member with him as an airborne hostage. They thought about using dummy parachutes for the exchange with Cooper but they couldn't risk the life of a civilian.

At 5:24 PM, the ground team had the cash and the parachutes so they radioed Captain Scott and told him they were ready for his arrival. Cooper ordered that they taxi to a remote, well-lit area after they landed. He had the cabin lights dimmed and ordered that no vehicle should approach the plane. He also ordered that the person who was bringing the cash and parachutes come unaccompanied.

A Northwest airline employee drove a company vehicle near the plane. Cooper ordered flight attendant Tina Mucklow to lower the aft stairs. The employee carried two parachutes at a time to the stairs and handed them over to Mucklow. Then the employee brought the cash over in a large bank bag. Once the demands were met, Cooper released the 36 passengers and flight attendant Florence Schaffner. He did not release the other flight attendant Tina Mucklow or the three men in the cockpit.

An FAA official contacted Scott and asked Cooper for permission to come aboard the jet. The official apparently wanted to warn him of the dangers and consequences of air piracy. Cooper denied his request. Cooper had Mucklow read over the instruction card for operation of the aft stairs. When he questioned her about them, she said she didn't think they could be lowered during flight. He said she was wrong.

Cooper had chosen this flight not only for location, but because of the type of jet that was used. He knew a lot about the Boeing 727-100. Cooper ordered the pilot to remain below an altitude of 10,000 feet and to keep the airspeed below 150 knots. An experienced skydiver would easily be able to dive at 150 knots. The jet was lightweight and would have no problem flying at such a slow speed through the dense air at 10,000 feet.

Cooper told the crew that he wanted to go to Mexico City. The pilot explained that at the altitude and airspeed he wanted to travel, the jet wouldn't be able to travel more than 1,000 miles even with 52,000 gallons of fuel. With this in mind, they agreed to make a mid-stop to refuel in Reno, Nevada. Before leaving Seattle, Cooper ordered the jet be refueled. He knew that the Boeing 727-100 could take in 4,000 gallons of fuel a minute. After 15 minutes, when they weren't done refueling, Cooper demanded an explanation. The fuel crew completed the job shortly afterwards. Captain Scott and Cooper negotiated a low-altitude route called Vector 23. This route allowed the jet to fly safely west of the mountains even at the low altitude that Cooper demanded.

Cooper also directed the captain to depressurize the cabin. He knew that a person can breathe normally at 10,000 feet, and that, if the cabin had equalized pressure inside and out, there wouldn't be a violent gust of wind when the aft stairs lowered. After all of the flight details were figured out, the plane took off at 7:46 PM.

After takeoff, Cooper ordered the flight attendant and the rest of the crew to stay in the cockpit. There was no peephole in the cockpit door or remote cameras installed in the jet at the time. The crew had no idea what Cooper was doing out there. At 8 PM, a red light gave warning that a door was open. Scott asked Cooper over the intercom if there was anything they could do for him. He replied with an angry “No!” That was the last word anyone ever heard from Dan Cooper.

At 8:24 PM, the jet genuflected as the jet’s nose dipped first followed by a correcting dip in the tail end. Scott made sure to note the spot where the dip took place, 25 miles north of Portland, near the Lewis River. The crew assumed that the aft stairs had been lowered and that Cooper had jumped. However, they didn't make confirmation of their assumption because they didn't want to disobey his orders to stay in the cockpit.

At 10:15 PM, the jet landed in Reno, Nevada. Scott spoke over the intercom and after receiving no response, he opened the cockpit door. The cabin was empty. Cooper, along with the money and all of his belongings, was gone. The only item left was the second parachute. Cooper had leapt out of the jet at an approximate temperature of -7 degrees with the money strapped to his chest.

No one ever heard from D.B. Cooper again. All subsequent investigations have failed to prove whether he survived or died his fateful jump. During the hijacking, the police attempted to follow the plane and wait for someone to jump. While they originally used F-106 fighter jets, these planes, built to go at high speeds up to 1,500 MPH, proved to be useless at lower speeds. The police then co-opted the Air National Guard Lockheed T-33, but before they were able to catch up to the hijacked plane, Cooper had already jumped.

The inclement weather that night prevented the police from searching the grounds until the next day. That Thanksgiving, and for several weeks afterward, the police performed an extensive search that failed to turn up any trace of the hijacker or the parachute. The police began searching criminal records for the name Dan Cooper, just in case the hijacker used his real name. They eventually found a man name D.B. Cooper, and, even though this man was cleared, the name is still being used as an alias for the hijacker.

Charges for air piracy were filed in 1976 and still stand today. On February 10, 1980, an 8-year-old boy found bundles of $20 bills with serial numbers matching the ones from the Cooper stash in the Columbia River. Some people believe this evidence helps support the theory that Cooper didn't survive. They believe that he drowned in the river and that the bag tied to his chest had likely decomposed over the years, with some of the bundles of money being carried upstream. The discovery of these bundles led to new searches around that area. However, an eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980, likely destroyed any remaining clues about the Cooper case.

Over the years, many have confessed to being Dan Cooper. The FBI has quietly examined some of these cases, but has yet to turn up anything useful. They check the unknown fingerprints found on the plane against the prints of those confessing to be Dan Cooper. So far, none of them have been a match.

In August 2011, Marla Cooper made claims that D.B. Cooper was her uncle. She claims to have overheard her two uncles having a mysterious conversation and using “expensive” walkie-talkies. She said on the day of the hijacking, they said they were going turkey hunting. The next day, her uncle L.D. Cooper came home in a bloody t-shirt, claiming to have been in a car accident. Her other uncle just told her they wanted to speak to Marla’s father.

Marla claims that she heard them say that their money problems were over and that they had hijacked a plane. She also explained that no money was ever recovered, however, since her uncle lost it while he was jumping. According to Marla, her two uncles wanted to return to search for the money, but Marla’s father wouldn't let them, since the FBI had started their search. Marla said she never heard anything else about her uncle until he died in 1999. Although many people have identified D.B. Cooper as one of their long-lost relatives, Marla Cooper’s claims seem to come the closest to the truth-one of the flight attendants on that flight even identified L.D. Cooper looking similar to the hijacker.

National Sardines Day

November 24th, 2012, is the day that sardine lovers unite to celebrate National Sardines Day. 

Sardines, or pilchards, are common names used to refer to various small, oily fish within the herring family of Clupeidae. The term sardine was first used in English during the early 15th century and may come from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, around which sardines were once abundant.

The terms sardine and pilchard are not precise, and what is meant depends on the region. The United Kingdom's Sea Fish Industry Authority, for example, classifies sardines as young pilchards. One criterion suggests fish shorter in length than 6 inches (15 cm) are sardines, and larger ones pilchards. The FAO/WHO Codex standard for canned sardines cites 21 species that may be classed as sardines; Fish Base, a comprehensive database of information about fish, calls at least six species "pilchard", over a dozen just "sardine", and many more with the two basic names qualified by various adjectives.

Sardines are commonly consumed by human beings. Fresh sardines are often grilled, pickled or smoked, or preserved in cans.

Sardines are rich in vitamins and minerals. A small serving of sardines once a day can provide 13 percent of vitamin B2; roughly one-quarter of niacin; and about 150 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin B12. All B vitamins help to support proper nervous system function and are used for energy metabolism, or converting food into energy. Also, sardines are high in the major minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, potassium, and some trace minerals including iron and selenium. Sardines are also a natural source of marine omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. Recent studies suggest that regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids reduces the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease. These fatty acids can also lower blood sugar levels. They are also a good source of vitamin D, calcium, vitamin B12, and protein.

Because they are low in the food chain, sardines are very low in contaminants such as mercury, relative to other fish commonly eaten by humans.

In the United States, the sardine canning industry peaked in the 1950s. Since then, the industry has been on the decline. The last large sardine cannery in the United States, the Stinson Seafood plant in Prospect Harbor, Maine, closed its doors on 15 April 2010 after 135 years in operation.

Pilchard fishing and processing became a thriving industry in Cornwall (UK) from around 1750 to around 1880, after which it went into decline. As of 2007, however, stocks are improving. Since 1997, sardines from Cornwall have been sold as "Cornish sardines", and since March 2010, under EU law, Cornish sardines have Protected Geographical Status. The industry has featured in numerous works of art, particularly by Stan hope Forbes and other Newlyn School artists.

National Use Even If Seal Is Broken Day

Warning: November 24 is National Use Even if Seal is Broken Day.

Many sources have been active in promoting "National Use Even if Seal is Broken Day," a "fun" holiday for people to take part in. However, there are many dangers in using any product that has been tampered with, and you should not consume any item that has a broken seal. While this is a funny, "Damn the man" approach to life and holidays, it should not be taken seriously, as yours and your family's health could be at risk by participating in this particular "fun" holiday.

The seals that have been placed on many consumables is called a Tamper Indicating or Tamper Evident seal. Companies sanitarily place these seals onto bottles and packaging to ensure that the food items inside the sealed package are free of any pathogens, bacteria, or harmful drugs and are safe for consumption; once that seal has been tampered with or broken, it is no longer safe to eat and should be returned or thrown away.

When a seal has been broken or tampered with, that means that this package has been opened by someone before you received it. For drinks, this means someone could have opened the bottle, drank from it, and replaced it upon the shelf; you will never know if that person was carrying a deadly disease, and when you drink from that contaminated bottle, you will receive the active virus through second-hand drinking. Sealed canned food items can contain the deadly bacteria botulism, and open medicine seals could contain inaccurate medicines, resulting in death due to overdosing or deadly drug interactions.

Open seals means unknown and harmful substances, whether they are in the form of bacteria and mold or deadly, contagious viruses.

How do I know if my item has been opened or tampered with?
  • For drink bottles with plastic caps, the safety ring should still be attached to the cap, and when you twist it, there should be an obvious breaking or separation from the ring and the cap.
  • For glass drink bottles with metal lids, the lid should not click when pressed, and the middle of the cap should not be raised.
  • For cans, there should be no dents or holes, and the can should not give when squeezed.
  • For items with plastic bands around lids, do not use if band has been slit or removed.
  • For items with plastic, removable lids, the paper, plastic, or aluminum seal underneath should still be glued to the container.
  • For items in bags inside of open boxes, the bag should not lose air when squeezed.

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