Thursday, January 8, 2015

Holidays and Observances for Jan 8 2015

Argyle Day

We've all got a favourite knitwear pattern, right? Heck, most people suffer sleepless nights trying to prioritise plaid over tartan. Well this is the day where argyle fans get to come out loud and proud. Yes, finally you can dig out all thirty-six pairs of socks you've hidden at the back of the wardrobe since Christmas and pair them off with the spoils of raiding your grandad’s golfing gear.

The argyle (occasionally argyll) pattern is made of diamonds or lozenges. The word is sometimes used to refer to an individual diamond in the design but more commonly refers to the overall pattern. Most argyle layouts contain layers of overlapping motifs, adding a sense of three-dimensionality, movement, and texture. Typically, there is an overlay of intercrossing diagonal lines on solid diamonds.

The argyle pattern is derived from the tartan of Clan Campbell, of Argyll in western Scotland, used for kilts and plaids, and from the patterned socks worn by Scottish Highlanders since at least the 17th century. (See illustrations in History of the kilt) These were generally known as "tartan hose".

Argyle knitwear became fashionable in Great Britain and then the USA after the first world war. Pringle of Scotland popularised the design, helped by its identification with the Duke of Windsor. Pringle's website says that "the iconic Pringle argyle design was developed" in the 1920s. The duke, like others, used this pattern for golf clothing: both for jerseys and for the long socks needed for the plus-fours trouser fashion of the day.

Payne Stewart (1957–1999), who won the U.S. Open and a PGA championship, was known and loved by fans for his bright and "flashy" dress; he wore tams, knickerbockers, and argyle socks.

As a knitting pattern, argyle is generally accomplished using the intarsia technique. Argyle patterns are occasionally woven.

Some sports teams use bright, contemporary interpretations of the argyle pattern: for example, the Garmin-Slipstream professional cycling team, nicknamed the "Argyle Armada", and the Norwegian men's curling team at the 2010 Winter Olympics. On April 27, 2013 the professional soccer team Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer (MLS) in the United States announced their third kit of the 2013 season featuring an argyle pattern.

How then to mark this auspicious cotton-pickin party? Short of a full-on pilgrimage to the Highlands, surely eighteen holes of outlandish clashing as you walk the fairways and greens as you would the runways of New York or Paris is mandatory. Follow that with haggis, shortbread and a knitting lesson from granny, in which you invent your own family’s official colour scheme, and you’ll have had yourself an Argyle Day to remember.

Bubble Bath Day

Bubble Bath Day is celebrated on January 8th of each year. The earliest foam baths were foamed with soap, which practice came about shortly after soap flakes were marketed. Saponins were also used to foam machine-aerated baths. Foam baths became more popular with later surfactants; an early publicized use of an alkyl sulfate surfactant as bath foam was in the original 1936 production of the play The Women, but it is possible that a similar composition was used to produce foams seen in bath photos since the marketing of Dreft in 1933. Foam baths became standard practice for bathing children after the mass marketing of products so positioned in supermarkets during the 1960s and thereabouts, Bub and Matey in the United States having been marketed shortly before 1960. the dubious claim had been made that their normal use (diluted in a tubful of water) would substitute for soap and/or rubbing to clean skin.

The term bubble bath can be used to describe aerated or carbonated baths, or to describe bathing with a layer of surfactant foam on the surface of the water and consequently also the surfactant product used to produce the foam.

Bubbles in the water can be produced either by aerating it mechanically (in some cases using jets that also move the water) using equipment installed permanently or temporarily in a bathtub, hot tub, or pool, or by producing gas in the water in a bathtub through the use of effervescent solids. The latter can come as small pellets known as bath fizzies or as a bolus known as a bath bomb, and they produce carbon dioxide by reaction of a bicarbonate or carbonate with an organic acid.

Bath fizzies are infeasible as liquids because of the inability to keep the mixture from reacting prematurely. This is a distinction from foam bath preparations, which may be supplied as liquids or solids.

When the term “bubble bath” is encountered on the Internet referring to a gas-infused bath or pool, it is more often by a non-native user of English who may not be aware of its use to refer to foam baths. In other languages the distinction is more likely to be kept by use of different words.

Bubbles on top of the water, less ambiguously known as a foam bath, can be obtained by adding a product containing foaming surfactants to water and temporarily aerating it by agitation (often merely by the fall of water from a faucet). The practice is popular for personal bathing because the foam insulates the bath water, keeping it warm for longer, and (as a lime soap dispersant) prevents or reduces deposits on the bath tub at and below the water level (called “bathtub ring” and soap scum, respectively) produced by soap and hard water. It can hide the body of the bather, preserving modesty or, in theatre and film, giving the appearance that a performer who is actually clothed is bathing normally. Children find foam baths particularly amusing, so they are an inducement to get them into the bathtub.

National English Toffee Day

English toffee is a candy made from a sugar syrup, usually lightly caramelized, enriched with a generous amount of butter. Toasted almonds or raisins are often added. January 8 is National English Toffee Day.

English Toffee often delights the gourmet, but as well, sparks debate about its origins. Toffee of any kind could be made either in a hard form, covered in nuts and perhaps chocolate, or it could be somewhat soft and chewy. Food historians suggest both forms of toffee originated at about the same time in the early 1800s.

Americans are used to considering English toffee as a hard, buttery candy that may be coated in nuts and chocolate. Alternately, English toffee might be a slab of toffee merely topped with chocolate and a sprinkling of nuts. The first form can be easily found in the popular candy Almond Roca, but the slab form is also recognizable and popular.

In England, English toffee is often served individually wrapped. It frequently has nuts added, but it may not be the hard form more familiar to Americans. Instead it may be sticky and chewy, and what most Americans would refer to as taffy, such as saltwater taffy.

Most often the ingredients for any of the variants are relatively similar. What differs is cooking time, and whether the candy is pulled. Most recipes are a mix of butter, and brown sugar, molasses or corn syrup. The candy is boiled until it reaches a certain temperature.

For example, the slab type of English toffee is usually boiled to the hard crack stage about 310 F (154.44 C). It is then poured out in a thin layer, preferably onto a marble board. It is allowed to cool almost completely before chocolate chips are added and smoothed over the toffee as they melt. A layer of nuts, usually almonds or walnuts, is added to the chocolate before it hardens as well.

This form of English toffee is then cracked into pieces, which can vary in size. It will keep well for several weeks when packed in reasonably airtight containers away from heat sources.

Thickness of the English toffee slab can vary. A thicker toffee can be prepared by pouring the candy into a smaller pan instead of onto a marble board. There is no one desired thickness layer.

English toffee similar to Almond Roca® is made by cutting the toffee into small pieces prior to it cooling completely. The pieces are dipped in chocolate and then nuts. Some recipes add nuts to the sugar/butter mix as well. The pieces may be wrapped, or when fully cooled can be packed together.

The slab form of English toffee has also inspired the English toffee cookie. This is technically not candy. It is rather a thick layer of shortbread covered and baked with toffee nut mixture and then covered with chocolate chips, which melt over the toffee. Many find this a superlative cookie to offer friends during the holiday season.

You can pick up a bag of English toffee from your grocery store or try making some yourself. It's actually not that hard at all to make a batch of toffee. Just be sure that you boil it long enough so that everything caramelizes. Otherwise, it won't have the exact texture that you want.

Enjoy National English Toffee Day!

National Joygerm Day

Seldom does the word ‘germ’ mean anything remotely positive. The very sound of the word makes your nose curl up in disgust – you really don't want to be catching any germs! You recoil in horror as your friend says “Don't come too close; I've got a cold.”.

There is one sort of germ that you might not be too worried about catching, however: A JoyGerm!

A JoyGerm is a little germ of joy that is spread by smiling at people, making people laugh, and generally spreading happiness everywhere you go. Imagine a day where everyone is smiling, laughing and spreading happiness – that’s National JoyGerm Day!

It’s very easy to participate. The first step is to park your cynicism at home. The second step is to go out into the world. The third step is up to you – just feel the joy, and spread it around!

National Man Watcher's Day

Ok ladies – If your significant tends to drool or constantly gawks every time a good looking gal walks by, today is your kind of day! January 8th is National Man Watcher’s Day!

While this special day comes but once a year, this annual "holiday" provides the perfect opportunity to finally turn the tables on our male counterparts! Yep, it’s finally our turn to publicly and proudly admire the male species in all their magnificent glory! And unlike some of our less tactful male friends, there is no need to be rude or crude about it either. Just profess your admiration either verbally or silently for men and sit back and enjoy the view!

Although the origins of this holiday are unknown, chances are pretty good a woman came up with the idea. On second thought, perhaps it was man in a heap load of trouble trying to make amends? While “Men Watcher’s Day” would be way more fun than the singular “Man Watcher’s Day”, – hey, it’s a start!

How to Celebrate National Man Watcher’s Day
In order to get the biggest bang for your “buck” today, don’t tell your significant other it’s National Man Watcher’s Day. To him, today is just another ordinary day. Be sure to fess up after you celebrate.
  • Get out of the house and enjoy the “scenery!” Whether you go for a leisurely stroll, a ride in the car or a nice long lunch, chances are pretty good you'll run into a man or two along the way. And when one comes along, go ahead and gawk. Heck, feel free to drool! Just make sure you aren’t as discreet as you normally are!
  • Take (drag) your significant other (SO) to the mall for some much needed “shopping.” When you’ve picked up everything you need, park yourself in the seating area of the mall and just wait and watch. Just be sure to share all of your keen observations with your SO. “He looks like he really works out, doesn't he, honey?” or “Wow, I love those tight-fitting jeans he is wearing, don't you?” or how about “I wonder what he does to keep those guns in such fine form at his age?” Get the picture?
  • Offer to take your man out for lunch or dinner. Be sure to comment on the waiters or chef’s fine physical attributes and/or God-given talents!
  • Call up your BFF’s and tell them you are going hunting! Meet at a public place and enjoy!
  • Know of any busy construction sites? Don't forget your hard hats and whistles!
  • If your New Year’s resolution included a membership to a fitness club or gym – ‘nuff said!
  • Read aloud “Is it Normal for Men to Ogle Women?”
  • Crank up Halls & Oates popular single, “Maneater.”

National Show and Tell Day at Work Day

Remember back in school when it was your turn for Show & Tell? You got to bring in your pet, your baby brother, or a medal you'd won and be the proud centre of attention for a few moments. Such fun should not have to end once you are grown up! Why not make the most of Show & Tell Day At Work Day, and celebrate what areas of life make you unique with the rest of the group?

Whether it’s a hobby, something you’ve made or won, bring it in to work on Show & Tell Day and get to know your colleagues a little better as everyone shares like a child again for a few moments. A bit of fun to break up the normal routine is always appreciated, and you never know what sort of interesting discoveries you might make about your workmates and what they get up to in their spare time!

War on Poverty Day

January 8, 1964: President Lyndon B. Johnson declares war, this time on poverty. During his State of the Union address, Johnson outlined ideas which he claimed would put an end to poverty. The Great Society he envisioned was to have the federal government taking a larger role in social welfare programs. His ideas were an extension of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and Four Freedoms from decades earlier.

The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 included many programs funded at the federal level. Social programs concerning health, education, and welfare were addressed. The Social Security Act of 1965 enacted Medicare and Medicaid. The War on Poverty was declared during a time of economic recovery. The poverty level had fallen from a high of 22.4% in 1959 to 19% by the time of Johnson's speech.

There are economists who claim the overall effect of the War on Poverty and the Great Society has been negative. Milton Friedman, William L. Anderson, and Thomas Sewell have written about the negative economic effects along with the devastating blow dealt to the African-American family unit. The poverty level in the US fell to a low of 11.1% over the next ten years and has remained at the approximate level ever since.

The estimated numbers show the US to have a 12% poverty rate as of 2005. Taiwan has less than 1% of its population living in poverty while Zambia has 86% of its inhabitants living below the poverty level. Chad, the Gaza Strip, Haiti, and Liberia all have an 80% or above poverty rate. These poverty lines are national estimates which are deemed appropriate by local authorities. They vary widely by country. Richer nations tend to have more generous standards than the poorer nations meaning that the poverty levels in these emerging nations are truly devastating. In Zambia, 63.8% of the people must live on less than a single dollar per day (purchasing power parity) and 87.2% of them live on less than $2.
"If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin." - Charles Darwin
"Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that." - Norman Vincent Peale
"You can't get rid of poverty by giving people money." - P.J. O'Rourke
"Poverty is the mother of crime." - Marcus Aurelius
"Almsgiving tends to perpetuate poverty; aid does away with it once and for all." - Eva PerĂ³n