Friday, January 16, 2015

Holidays and Observances for Jan 16 2015

Appreciate A Dragon Day

January 16th is a celebration of the noblest of creatures, the dragon! As symbols, dragons have existed for centuries. Appreciate a Dragon Day was started in 2004 by Donita K. Paul to celebrate the release of DragonSpell.

Dragons are usually thought to have wings and breathe fire. They also are said to have scales and claws. Some also have horns. Almost always they are said to be venomous. Some dragons may have two or more heads. They may also have more than one tail. They may have two, four or even more legs; however, most are known to have four legs. Dragons are said to eat things such as rats, birds, snakes, bats, or even humans, especially children.

Dragons are very intelligent creatures. They live in remote areas, far away from humans, in places that are dark, damp and secluded, such as caves. Dragons were first thought of as creatures who lived in water. Later they became associated with fire. Sea serpents may have been the first dragons, and may be the reason for this association.

Almost all dragon stories portray the dragon as the villain from whom the hero must protect the city or the princess. But some dragons can take on the form of the protector. The biggest differences in dragons usually come from different cultures, especially the cultures of the East and the West. Each culture seems to have their own idea about dragons.

Dragons cannot be put all into one group, as there are so many dragons. Each culture seems to have their own type of dragon, and each of these dragons is usually very different. Some people have said that dragons once existed, maybe during the time of the dinosaurs. Others believe that dragons began around the same time the earth began. A few people even claim to have seen a dragon in their life time. Of these people who claim to have seen one, they usually agree that it was humans who finally defeated the dragons.

But most of all, dragons are fascinating, magical creatures who have captivated our attention for thousands of years. The many different kinds of dragons and the ability for us to use our imagination to create these creatures only adds to their appeal. Many stories have been told about these great beings and it seems like dragons are a part of our mythical history. Whether these creatures are or ever were real probably doesn't matter due to the fact that the imagination can create them in almost any situation.

International Fetish Day

International Fetish Day is observed on January 16. International Fetish Day is a day supporting the BDSM community. It originated in the United Kingdom as "National Fetish Day". The first International Fetish Day was held on 16 January 2009 (the third Friday of the year).

The main purpose of International Fetish Day is to increase awareness and support of the fetish community, whilst also opposing the new law criminalising possession of "extreme pornography". BDSM is a variety of erotic practices involving dominance and submission, role-playing, restraint, and other interpersonal dynamics. International Fetish Day is also designed to encourage members of the community to be more open about their sexuality.

On National Fetish Day, one of the main aspects is that members of the community wear an item of purple clothing as a sign that they are a member, in an event known as "Perverts Wear Purple". The main benefit of this act is that it indicates that someone is a member of the community whilst being "Vanilla" at the same time. Purple is a colour widely used in BDSM circles.

Maybe you have a fetish and do not know it. Straight from Wikipedia a list of “paraphilias”:
  • Abasiophilia: love of (or sexual attraction to) people who use leg braces or other orthopaedic appliances
  • Acousticophilia: sexual arousal from certain sounds
  • Acrotomophilia: love of (or sexual attraction to) amputees
  • Agalmatophilia: sexual attraction to statues or mannequins or immobility
  • Algolagnia: sexual pleasure from pain
  • Amaurophilia: sexual arousal by a partner whom one is unable to see due to artificial means, such as being blindfolded or having sex in total darkness. (See: sensory deprivation)
  • Andromimetophilia: love of women dressed as men
  • Apodysophilia: desire to undress, see also nudism
  • Apotemnophilia: desire to have (or sexual arousal from having) a healthy appendage (limb, digit, or male genitals) amputated
  • Aquaphilia: arousal from water and/or in watery environments, including bathtubs or swimming pools
  • Aretifism: sexual attraction to people who are without footwear, in contrast to retifism
  • Asphyxiophilia: sexual attraction to asphyxia; also called breath control play; including autoerotic asphyxiation; see medical warnings
  • Autogynephilia: love of oneself as a woman (also see Blanchard, Bailey, and Lawrence theory for discussion on controversy)
  • Biastophilia: sexual pleasure from committing rape
  • Beastiality: sexual arousal to animals
  • Celebriphilia: pathological desire to have sex with a celebrity.
  • Coprophilia: sexual attraction to (or pleasure from) feces
  • Crush fetish: sexual arousal from seeing small creatures being crushed by members of the opposite sex, or being crushed oneself
  • Dacryphilia: sexual pleasure in eliciting tears from others or oneself
  • Dendrophilia: sexual attraction to trees and other large plants, popularized by the movie “Superstar” with Molly Shannon
  • Diaper fetishism: sexual arousal from diapers
  • Emetophilia (a.k.a. vomerophilia): sexual attraction to vomit
  • Ephebophilia (a.k.a. hebephilia): sexual attraction towards adolescents
  • Eproctophilia: sexual attraction to flatulence
  • Exhibitionism: sexual arousal through sexual behavior in view of third parties (also includes the recurrent urge or behavior to expose one’s genitals to an unsuspecting person, known as indecent exposure)
  • Faunoiphilia: sexual arousal from watching animals mate
  • Fetishism: is the use of non-sexual or nonliving objects or part of a person’s body to gain sexual excitement. Examples include:
  • Balloon fetishism — breast fetishism — foot fetishism (podophilia) — fur fetishism — leather fetishism — lipstick fetishism — medical fetishism — panty fetishism — robot fetishism — rubber fetishism — shoe fetishism — smoking fetishism — spandex fetishism — dental braces fetishism — transvestic fetishism (see below)
  • Frotteurism: sexual arousal from the recurrent urge or behavior of touching or rubbing against a nonconsenting person
  • Galactophilia: sexual attraction to human milk or lactating women (incorrect term)
  • Gerontophilia: sexual attraction towards the elderly
  • Haematophilia: sexual attraction involving blood (either on a sex partner/attractive person or the liquid itself; not to be confused with haemophilia, a genetic disorder of the blood)
  • Harpaxophilia: sexual arousal from being the victim of a robbery or burglary
  • Hematolagnia: sexual attraction to blood
  • Homosexuality: sexual arousal to people of the same gender.
  • Hybristophilia: sexual arousal to people who have committed crimes, in particular cruel or outrageous crimes
  • Infantilism: sexual pleasure from dressing, acting, or being treated as a baby
  • Katoptronophilia: sexual arousal from having sex in front of mirrors.
  • Klismaphilia: sexual pleasure from enemas
  • Lust murder: sexual arousal through committing murder
  • Macrophilia: sexual attraction to larger people and large things (including larger body organs such as breasts and genitalia)
  • Maiesiophilia: sexual attraction to childbirth or pregnant women
  • Masochism: is the recurrent urge or behavior of wanting to be humiliated, beaten, bound, or otherwise made to suffer
  • Microphilia: sexual attraction to smaller people and things of smaller size
  • Mysophilia: sexual attraction to soiled, dirty, foul or decaying material
  • Necrophilia: sexual attraction to corpses
  • Necrozoophilia: sexual attraction to the corpses or killings of animals (also known as necrobestiality)
  • Nepiophilia: the same as infantophilia sexual attraction to children between the age of 0 – 3 yrs.
  • Pedophilia: sexual attraction to prepubescent children (British spelling: paedophilia)
  • Phalloorchoalgolagnia: sexual arousal by the experiencing of painful stimuli being administered to the male genitals.
  • Pictophilia: sexual attraction to pictorial pornography/erotic art
  • Plushophilia: sexual attraction to stuffed toys or people in animal costume, such as theme park characters
  • Pyrophilia: sexual arousal through watching, setting, hearing/talking/fantasizing about fire
  • Retifism: sexual arousal from shoes
  • Sadism: sexual arousal from giving pain
  • Schediaphilia (aka Toonophilia): love (or sexual arousal) to cartoon characters/situations
  • Sitophilia: sexual arousal from food
  • Somnophilia: sexual arousal from sleeping or unconscious people
  • Spectrophilia: sexual attraction to ghosts
  • Telephone scatologia: being sexually aroused by making obscene telephone calls
  • Teratophilia: sexual attraction to deformed or monstrous people
  • Transformation fetish: sexual arousal from depictions of transformations of people into objects or other beings
  • Transvestic fetishism: is a sexual attraction towards the clothing of the opposite gender (also known as transvestitism)
  • Trichophilia: love (or sexual arousal) from hair
  • Urolagnia: sexual attraction to urine
  • Vorarephilia: sexual attraction to being eaten by, and/or eating, another person or creature
  • Voyeurism: sexual arousal through watching others having sex (also includes the recurrent urge or behavior to observe an unsuspecting person who is naked, disrobing or engaging in sexual activities, see peeping tom)
  • Xenophilia: sexual attraction to foreigners (in science fiction, can also mean sexual attraction to aliens)
  • Zoophilia: emotional or sexual attraction to animals
  • Zoosadism: the sexual enjoyment of causing pain and suffering to animals
International Hot and Spicy Food Day

Do you like hot and spicy food? If so, you are in good company. You can celebrate along with people around the word. January 16 is International Hot and Spicy Food Day.

Archaeological evidence suggests that people have been using hot spices in their recipes for over 6000 years. Did you know that the hottest chili pepper in the world is the Naga Jolokia? On average, one of these peppers is over 170 times spicier than a jalapeno pepper!

Throughout the world, there are hundreds of different spices that contribute to an array of hot flavored foods. Hot foods can actually be very good for you because of their medicinal and antimicrobial properties. Garlic, chilies, onions, allspice, and oregano all kill bacteria and make food safer to consume.

Though people love spicy food primarily for its flavor, studies prove that spices confer a host of health benefits. According to "The New York Times", spicy food ingredients, such as hot peppers and horseradish, may help treat symptoms of the common cold. Other than helping you work up a sweat, some spices contain cancer-fighting antioxidants that may help prevent or slow the growth of cancerous cells.

  • Weight Loss

The compound that gives hot chilies its kick is capsaicin. Speculation over the notion that the sweat you produce after eating spicy food means you are effectively burning calories may have some truth in it. According to "The New York Times", eating a spicy dish can temporarily boost your metabolism by up to 8 percent. Spicy dishes have more of a chance to leave you satisfied; a Canadian study found that a group of men that had an appetizer with hot sauce consumed 200 fewer calories that peers who didn't have hot sauce.

  • Cancer Prevention

Some spicy foods have anti-cancer potential. Turmeric, a peppery-flavored spice native to India, contains the active antioxidant curcumin, which has shown some anti-cancer effects in lab studies. Though small studies have shown positive results, according to the Mayo Clinic, curcumin requires further investigation before being used for cancer treatment. The American Cancer Society suggests that capsaicin may help slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. Further studies on humans are needed and, thus, it is not recommended for treatment at this time.

  • Healthy Heart

Capsaicin, the active ingredient found in jalapenos, cayenne pepper and red chili peppers, may lower bad cholesterol, thus improving heart function. According to a study presented in the American Chemical Society, capsaicin helps reduce the accumulation of cholesterol in the body by increasing its breakdown rate. The medical team also found that capsaicin blocks a gene that narrows the arteries, thus increasing blood flow in the vessels.

  • Nutritional Value

The addition of fresh chilies to your meals can help you reach your daily recommended intake for vitamins and minerals. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, green and red peppers have a variety of essential minerals and high levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C can reduce the duration of the common cold and may help prevent cancer and heart disease.

To celebrate International Hot and Spicy Food Day, try a few hot peppers or hot sauces with your food.

National Fig Newton Day

Fig Newton Day! Who would have guessed that this unique cookie would have its own date to celebrate amongst all the other food holidays? Well it does; and January sixteenth is the day to honor this fabulous cookie.

While reading about this famous cookie a few passages caught this authors’ attention.
“Fig rolls were first mass-produced in 1891 by Philadelphia baker and fig-lover Charles Roser, who in 1892 patented a machine which inserted fig paste into a cake-like dough, that was pastry-like, with a characteristic chewiness. Roser named his product "Newtons", after the local town of Newton, Massachusetts.”
“In the 1939 animated Mickey Mouse short "Mickey’s Surprise Party”, Mickey gives Minnie many Nabisco products, one of which is Fig Newtons. Mickey claims that they are his favorite.”
“The Fig Newton is a Nabisco trademarked version of the ancient fig roll pastry filled with fig paste. Their unusual shape is a characteristic that has been adopted by many competitors, such as the generic fig bars sold by most supermarkets.”
Now over and over it has been said that homemade cookies are better than store bought. There is one exception. The Fig Newton! (Oops, you didn't hear me say that!) But it is true. This cookie is so unique in texture, flavor and shape that trying to copy it would be a mistake. Thus far, the store bought Fig Newton surpasses all attempts at recreating this cookie.

Fig Newton cookies used to sell in boxes and held twenty four or more cookies to them and were reasonably priced. Now the boxes are half the size and the prices like everything else have gone up tremendously. Fig Newton’s can be found in Wal-mart, Spain’s, the Dollar Store and SuperValu in and around Winona, Mississippi.

These cookies are great but money doesn't grow on trees, but figs do. So let’s talk about figs today and find out more about this fruit that make these cookies such a hit.

Everyone refers to figs as a fruit. Well guess what? Figs are not a fruit but actually a blossom that folds up into itself. Inside this blossom are thousands of tiny seeds that are crunchy. These crunchy seeds are the unfertilized ovaries of the underdeveloped blossom or fruit as we like to call it. The seeds are edible and are sweet and sticky too; giving the fig its unique flavor.

There are actually hundreds of different varieties of figs. They vary in color, shape and size. The most popular is the purple fig followed by the white fig. Fresh figs are in season from June to October. They can be found at many farmers markets and gourmet shops. The fresh figs are costly and hard to find, not all markets and shops carry them. Although figs that are dried; can be found in the grocery stores year round.

Figs are a delicate fruit. Once purchased, they should be rinsed under cold water and refrigerated. Fresh and ripened figs can be kept for two to three days before they start to bruise and spoil. If you purchased figs that are not quite ripe they can remain at room temperature until they mature. Each fig varies as to how long it takes to ripen. They should not be too firm to the touch and not too soft either when ripe.

Figs are very nutritious too. They are a fibrous fruit containing mostly insoluble fiber. This is actually good for the intestines to help the lower digestive tract do its job. Part of the fig fiber is also soluble and when this fiber interacts with the stomach’s digestive juices will slow down digestion of food and give you the feeling of being full longer.

These delicate blossoms are a good source of iron, vitamin B6, potassium and of course fiber. They are also known to regulate fat and cholesterol absorption while promoting a good balance of blood sugar.

Not only are figs used to make Fig Newton cookies but they also make a great little snack when picked fresh. And when Nabisco wraps this delicate blossom with their flaky and semi-dry but moist cookie pastry the rest is history. And so is the box of cookies! Have a cookie today with a tall, cold glass of milk or a cup of tea.

Enjoy your Fig Newton!

National Nothing Day

National Nothing day is celebrated on January 16th every year. Celebrating National Nothing Day is quite as simple, it is a day for nothing. To describe anything more about the day is anyways going to contradict the day’s purpose.

This day was first practiced way back in 1973 by newspaperman Harold Pullman Coffin. The goal of the day is "to provide Americans with one national day where they can just sit without celebrating, observing, or honoring anything." Coffin found that the special interest groups were laying claims on dates of thecalendars so very often that it has become sort of cliché. He felt the need of a day when people should stop thinking about the formalities of the world around and only focus on themselves. So, was born the National Nothing Day in 1972. It was a year later in 1973 on January 16th that the day was celebrated.

There have been other activities that have been listed for the day. But somehow people like the light-hearted approach of Coffin towards the day more than anything.

However, there has been no evidence so far that would suggest that Nothing Day is a "national" day, for declaring any day as a national day requires an act of congress.

Some intellectuals claim that National Nothing Day is nothing but promoting laziness. But that is not true. Psychologists are of the opinion that it is a healthy option sometimes to abstain from everything and focusing on the world within. It may be an uplifting experience for the mind, body and soul.

National Nothing day is about doing nothing, in other words, even not observing the day. However, different people have their different ideas of doing nothing, as ‘nothing’ is anyways a relative term. Some may feel that their idea of doing nothing is lolling on the sofa and watching movies all day while some others may feel playing video games all day means just chilling out and doing nothing. Whatever you feel like doing, you are free to do on that day, the main ideal being, treating yourself to an event-free day. Wake up late, stand near the window, watch the birds, take a stroll to a scenic park and enjoy the day. The day is about noticing the things around you which you have never found time to. Though National Nothing day just comes once in a year, some psychologist are of the opinion that having a Nothing Day once a month is very much needed for a sane mental health in today’s busy lifestyle.

Whatever you are going to do on the day, make sure to unwind and make it count for yourself. This is a day solely for yourself, and for nothing and no one else around you. Switch off your mobile, stay away from the computer and television and hide that to-do list. Enjoy the day until another day arrives again the next year.

Religious Freedom Day

One of our less well known national days is Religious Freedom Day, which commemorates the enactment of Virginia's Statute for Religious Freedom. The Virginia Statute was written by Thomas Jefferson in 1777 but it wasn't passed and signed into law until 1786, by then-governor James Madison. Its unfortunate that Religious Freedom Day is not better known -- because the statute was the forerunner to the approach to religious freedom and separation of church and state taken by the framers of the Constitution and later the First Amendment.

There will certainly be a Presidential Proclamation on January 16th. But if past is prologue, there will probably not be a whole lot else. But it is time for that to change. In this era when religious freedom is rising as a defining national issue, the day provides us a teachable moment -- teachable most importantly to ourselves. Religious freedom is, or ought to be a strong issue for progressives, one with roots in the best traditions of the Enlightenment, progressive religious communities, and of the American Revolution and the making of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Meanwhile, the Religious Right is making religious freedom a central part of their argument on everything from abortion rights, to marriage equality to the contraception benefit of the Affordable Care Act. But there is much in the history of religious freedom in the U.S. that makes claims of the need for most such exemptions from the law, ring hollow. On another front, some on the Religious Right go so far as to argue that religious freedom is for Christians only and certainly not for Muslims. But history proves otherwise.

Nearing the end of his life Jefferson, who considered the Virginia Statute one of his three most important achievements (the others being drafting the Declaration of Independence and founding the University of Virginia) wanted to get in the last word on interpretation.

While he knew that the Virginia Statute was as revolutionary as the era in which it was written, he also knew that interpretations of convenience come easily to people with opposing views. The Statute was clear in stating that no one can be compelled to attend any religious institution or to underwrite it with taxes; that individuals are free to believe as they will and that this "shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." But Jefferson wanted to be even more specific about what was meant by all that.

So in his autobiography, Jefferson warily dotted the i's and cross the t's of history, lest anyone think there could be any exceptions. The statute, he wrote, contained "within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohametan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination."

The idea that Muslims (then-called Mohametans) would be equal in the eyes of the law with Christians of any flavor -- and anyone else -- has even greater meaning today than it did in the heady revolutionary days of 1777.

Indeed, President Obama held closely to the spirit and intention of Jefferson's reminder when he declared in his 2013 Religious Freedom Day Proclamation:
"...our Founders looked to the Statute as a model when they enshrined the principle of religious liberty in the Bill of Rights.
Because of the protections guaranteed by our Constitution, each of us has the right to practice our faith openly and as we choose. As a free country, our story has been shaped by every language and enriched by every culture. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, Sikhs and non-believers. Our patchwork heritage is a strength we owe to our religious freedom.
Americans of every faith have molded the character of our Nation. They were pilgrims who sought refuge from persecution; pioneers who pursued brighter horizons; protesters who fought for abolition, women's suffrage, and civil rights. Each generation has seen people of different faiths join together to advance peace, justice, and dignity for all."
Religious Freedom Day thus affords all of us a great opportunity, for those who are religious and non-religious, for example, to agree on such a powerful thing as our common civil and constitutional rights, and to recognize the threat to those rights that we share. We face similar challenges as the Religious Right seeks to redefine history for political advantage. That is smart politics because history is powerful. But too often, I think, we allow the Religious Right to go unchallenged, or inadequately challenged in these things.