Saturday, December 6, 2014

Holidays and Observances for December 6 2014

Bartender Appreciation Day

Today is Bartender Appreciation Day.

Who’s your favorite bartender? Why? Do you confide in them? Or do you simply love the way they have perfected your favorite cocktail? For me, it’s both. My favorite bartender happens to be a middle aged French dad named Dom; between the questionable locals and sea of college kids that flood in every Thursday night, appreciating this particular bartender goes without saying. Dom is universally adored by his clientele, which leaves me curious; does management at his bar appreciate him as much as his patrons?

An establishments’ bartender is the face of the company; they are the reason you make money so on this day, a big thank you is absolutely necessary. Bartending is no walk in the park; these people give up their late nights to provide patrons with their good times. A bartender must demonstrate an unwavering sense of patience on any given day and for that, it is only fair that they are commended.

Sailor Jerry’s Rum, the innovators of this holiday, has created a list of simple things that you can encourage your patrons to do on Bartender Appreciation Day:

  1. Always say please and thank you.
  2. Stop talking, and listen to your bartender’s stories for a change.
  3. If you and your friends are ordering more than one drink, order them all at the same time. Don’t make your bartender run a lap with each drink.
  4. Have your money out and ready to pay.
  5. Your bartender is not your mother so clean up after yourself and resist the urge to shred coasters, napkins or peel off beer labels.
  6. When closing out the tab, round up.
  7. Buy all the bartenders and barbacks a round.
  8. Keep. Your Drink. On. The coaster!
  9. Last call means last call. Do not ask a bartender for one more drink when lights are on and they’re counting money.
  10. Bring all your friends! The more people you bring, the more tips they make.

This brings me to my next point, owners; tell people it’s Bartender Appreciation Day! Send it out on your social media pages and advertise it on a sign out front. The least you can do for these hard working employees is to bring in paying customers to up their tip money on this special day!

And to the customers, make it out to see your favorite bartender, abide by the 10 Patron Commandments above and don’t be stingy when cashing out. Being that it is Friday, I think I will be paying good old Dom a visit with my wallet open just to show him how much he is appreciated.

Chester Greenwood Day (Earmuff Day)

Chester Greenwood (December 4, 1858 - July 5, 1937) of Farmington, Maine invented the earmuff in 1873, at the age of 15. He reportedly came up with the idea while ice skating, and had his grandmother sew tufts of fur between loops of wire. His patent was for improved ear protectors. He manufactured these ear protectors, providing jobs for people in the Farmington area, for nearly 60 years.

Chester also patented a tea kettle, a steel tooth rake, an advertising matchbox, and a machine used in producing wooden spools for wire and thread. He invented, but did not patent an umbrella holder for mail carriers.

In addition to being an inventor, Greenwood was the owner of a bicycle business, a business involving an improved heating system and was involved in the introduction of one of the first telephone systems in Farmington.

In 1977 the State of Maine declared December 21 to be Chester Greenwood Day. Farmington continues to celebrate "Chester Greenwood Day" with a parade on the first Saturday of December.

In addition to his inventions, he was an accomplished machinist, an active member of the community, a business developer, a member of the Unitarian Church and a family man. His wife Isabel was a staunch supporter of Women's Suffrage. He and Isabel were parents of four children.

The Chester Greenwood House in Farmington is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Miner's Day

Today, we celebrate the fifth annual Miner’s Day. In 2009, Congress proclaimed that each December 6 would be recognized in remembrance of the 1907 Monongah coal mine disaster, which resulted in the deaths of 362 miners and became the worst industrial accident in American history. The Proclamation designates this date ‘in appreciation, honor and remembrance of the accomplishments and sacrifices of the miners of our Nation; and encourages the people of the United States to participated in local and national activities celebrating and honoring the contributions of miners.’

American miners play a much larger role in our lives than most people realize. They extract a variety of raw materials, such as coal, copper, phosphate, silver, limestone, iron and zinc–ores that are essential components in the products we use every day. Coal, and the electricity generated by coal power, play prominent roles in our homes, businesses and communities. Miners produce the gravel, crushed stone, tar, asphalt, road salt and cement used to build the roads we travel on and to make them safer. The bridges we build to span canyons and rivers are built with rock and mineral products produced by miners.

Gold, silver and copper wiring, ceramic insulators, and silicon processing and memory chips are essential components in electronics that we use daily, such as smartphones, computers and televisions. Thousands of everyday consumer goods are made with the fundamental materials secured from the hard work of miners. They range from cosmetics to toothpaste, from cookware and dinnerware to appliances.

American miners work every day to provide the necessities of life. They deserve protection on the job from workplace hazards that have killed tens of thousands and injured hundreds of thousands of miners throughout our history.

We are making progress. In 1907, the same year as the Monongah disaster, 3,000 miners died in tragic accidents. Fatalities numbering in the thousand were not uncommon during the first part of the 20th century. These numbers decreased to about 140 in the 1970s due in large part to the passage of the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 and the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. The 1977 Act created the Mine Safety and Health Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor to oversee the safety and health of miners. Thirty-five years later, we have seen the lowest fatality rate in this nation’s history. And, through the “End Black Lung–Act Now” initiative and other occupational health efforts, we are making progress in limiting miners’ exposure to respirable dust and other harmful contaminants. While more needs to be done to prevent death, injury and illness in the nation’s mines, our efforts and collaboration with labor and industry stakeholders are showing positive results.

We will continue to work hard to send miners home safe and healthy at the end of every shift. On this Miner’s Day, we honor their contributions and thank them for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of this nation. We hope the American people will join us in commemorating this day of recognition.

Mitten Tree Day

December 6 is Mitten Tree Day!

The exact origin of this day is unknown, but many have concluded that it came into existence due to the heartwarming story, The Mitten Tree, by Candace Christiansen. The story follows a woman named Sarah who misses her grown children and therefore watches young children board the school bus near a large evergreen tree every day. One day, she notices that some of the children cannot play in the snow because they don’t have mittens. She knits a basket full of mittens and hangs them in the evergreen tree for the children. Although no one knows that Sarah is the person knitting the mittens for the children, she receives a basket of yarn on her doorstep. In return, she knits more mittens for the children. Every time she runs out of yarn, more magically appears at her door and the cycle of giving continues.

To celebrate Mitten Tree Day, you can share this story with your loved ones and make your own mitten tree by decorating a small tree with mittens you have knitted or some mittens you already have and donating it to those who are less fortunate.

National Gazpacho Day

Baby, it's cold outside - December 6 is National Gazpacho Day!

You may have Jack Frost nipping at your nose and a chilly chin (for those mourning the end of Movember), but a cold serving of gazpacho is just the right way to fire up your taste buds!

If you're not entirely versed on this Spanish favorite, gazpacho is indeed a cold soup made with a tomato base and other raw veggies, like cucumbers, bell peppers, onion and garlic. The veggies are chopped and pounded with a mortar before adding soaked, stale bread cubes, olive oil, wine vinegar and salt.

Gazpacho was developed as a way for field hands to cool off during the hot summer months of planting and harvesting by using fresh, available ingredients. But you can still lap it up during the wintertime for a refreshing taste of summer.

Eat it chunky and delicious or purée it if you're funny about texture. Gazpacho's basic structure is great for any creative twist you want to add, down to sprinkling fresh chopped  herbs on top. If you're planning a holiday party, these gazpacho shooters are a fun way to brighten up the menu.

And yes, it is perfectly acceptable to use gazpacho as a dipping excuse to eat your body weight in tortilla chips.

National Microwave Oven Day

Today is Microwave Oven Day! The microwave oven did not come about as a result of someone trying to find a better, faster way to cook. During World War II, two scientists invented the magnetron, a tube that produces microwaves. Installing magnetrons in Britain’s radar system, the microwaves were able to spot Nazi warplanes on their way to bomb the British Isles.

By accident, several years later, it was discovered that microwaves also cook food. Called the Radar Range, the first microwave oven to go on the market was roughly as large and heavy as a refrigerator.

The idea of using microwave energy to cook food was accidentally discovered by Percy LeBaron Spencer of the Raytheon Company when he found that radar waves had melted a candy bar in his pocket. Experiments showed that microwave heating could raise the internal temperature of many foods far more rapidly than a conventional oven.

The first Raytheon commercial microwave oven was the 1161 Radarange, which was marketed in 1954. Rated at 1600 watts, it was so large and expensive that it was practical only for restaurant and institutional use.

In 1967, Amana, a division of Raytheon, introduced its domestic Radarange microwave oven, marking the beginning of the use of microwave ovens in home kitchens. Although sales were slow during the first few years, partially due to the oven’s relatively expensive price tag, the concept of quick microwave cooking had arrived. In succeeding years, Litton and a number of other companies joined the countertop microwave oven market. By the end of 1971, the price of countertop units began to decrease and their capabilities were expanded.

All electromagnetic energy can be characterized as waves with a specific wavelength and frequency distributed over a continuous range known as the electromagnetic spectrum. For example, some radio waves have a wavelength of 6 feet (12 meters) and a frequency of 50 million hertz (Hz-cycles per second). Visible light waves have a wavelength of 400 to 700 millimicrons, and typical X-rays have a length of 0.01 millimicrons and a frequency of 30 x 10¹² millions.

Microwaves (short waves or high frequency radio waves) are the shortest of radio waves, with a length of 0.1 millimeter and a frequency of 3 x 109 Hz. They are found in the non-ionizing portion of the energy spectrum, between radio waves and visible light. "Non-ionizing" means that microwaves do not detach charged particles and produce atoms with an unbalanced plus or minus charge. Microwaves can therefore safely produce heat and not cause food to become radioactive.

Microwaves are reflected from most metals but they produce inductive resonance's in the atoms of many other substances.   It was the discovery of their reaction to metals that led to the invention of radar. It was their ability to produce resonant coupling that led to the invention of the microwave oven.

Today, over 90% of American households own a microwave oven. In fact, there is an entire food industry based on this one appliance. Just think of everything you can cook in the microwave—frozen meals, leftovers, popcorn, “mug brownies,” and much more.

To celebrate Microwave Oven Day, pick up your favorite microwaveable meal for dinner tonight! Bon appétit!

National Pawnbroker's Day

National Pawnbroker's Day is observed on December 6th, which coincides with St. Nicholas Day who is known as the Patron Saint of Pawnbrokers. This holiday pays tribute to the profession that provides a valuable service to both for those in need of cash as well as those looking for a reasonable deal.

In the west, pawnbroking existed in the Ancient Greek and Roman Empires. Most contemporary Western law on the subject is derived from the Roman jurisprudence. As the empire spread its culture, pawnbroking went with it. Likewise, in the East, the business model existed in China 3000 years ago no different from today, through the ages strictly regulated by Imperial or other authorities.

In spite of early Roman Catholic Church prohibitions against charging interest on loans, there is some evidence that the Franciscans were permitted to begin the practice as an aid to the poor. Pawnbrokerage arrived in England with William the Conqueror. In 1338, Edward III pawned his jewels to raise money for his war with France. King Henry V did much the same in 1415. The Lombards were not a popular class, and Henry VII harried them a good deal. In 1603 an Act against Brokers was passed and remained on the statute-book until 1872. It was aimed at the many counterfeit brokers in London. This type of broker was evidently regarded as a fence. Queen Isabella of Spain pawned her jewelry to finance Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the New World.

Crusaders, predominantly in France, brokered their land holdings to monasteries and diocese for funds to supply, outfit, and transport their armies to the Holy Land. Instead of outright repayment the Church reaped a certain amount of crop returns for a certain amount of seasons, which could additionally be re-exchanged in a type of equity.

A pawnbroker can also be a charity. In 1450, Barnaba Manassei, a Franciscan monk, began the Monte di Pietà movement in Perugia, Italy. It provided financial assistance in the form of no-interest loans secured with pawned items. Instead of interest, the Monte di Pietà urged borrowers to make donations to the Church. It spread through Italy, then to other parts of Europe. The first Monte de Piedad organization in Spain was founded in Madrid, and from there the idea was transferred to New Spain by Pedro Romero de Terreros, the Count of Santa Maria de Regla and Knight of Calatrava. The Nacional Monte de Piedad is a charitable institution and pawn shop whose main office is located just off the Zocalo, or main plaza of Mexico City. It was established between 1774 and 1777 by Pedro Romero de Terreros as part of a movement to provide interest-free or low-interest loans to the poor. It was recognized as a national charity in 1927 by the Mexican government. Today it is a fast-growing institution with over 152 branches all over Mexico and with plans to open a branch in every Mexican city. The economic downturn of 2008 saw the advent of the online pawnbrokers.

Skywarn Recognition Day

SKYWARN Recognition Day was developed in 1999 by the National Weather Service and the American Radio Relay League. It celebrates the contributions that volunteer SKYWARN radio operators make to the National Weather Service. During the day SKYWARN operators visit NWS offices and contact other radio operators across the world.

SKYWARN is a program of the United States' National Weather Service (NWS). Its mission is to collect reports of localized severe weather. These reports are used to aid forecasters in issuing and verifying severe weather watches and warnings and to improve the forecasting and warning processes and the tools used to collect meteorological data. It consists of a network of severe storm spotters that observe weather conditions and make reports of severe weather to their local NWS offices. These spotters are regularly trained by personnel from the local NWS offices. In many areas, classes are conducted each spring in advance of the coming severe weather season.

The effects of severe weather are felt every year by many Americans. To obtain critical weather information, NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, established SKYWARN with partner organizations. SKYWARN is a volunteer program with nearly 290,000 trained severe weather spotters. These volunteers help keep their local communities safe by providing timely and accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service.

Although SKYWARN spotters provide essential information for all types of weather hazards, the main responsibility of a SKYWARN spotter is to identify and describe severe local storms. In the average year, 10,000 severe thunderstorms, 5,000 floods and more than 1,000 tornadoes occur across the United States. These events threatened lives and property.

Since the program started in the 1970s, the information provided by SKYWARN spotters, coupled with Doppler radar technology, improved satellite and other data, has enabled NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods.

SKYWARN storm spotters are part of the ranks of citizens who form the Nation’s first line of defense against severe weather. There can be no finer reward than to know that their efforts have given communities the precious gift of time–seconds and minutes that can help save lives.