Saturday, February 7, 2015

Holidays and Observances for Feb 7 2015

Ballet Day

A ballerina can easily be spotted amidst a crowd. This is because her years of training results to a bony body structure, an almost fluid flexibility and a regal bearing. The best time to start ballet education is when a child is three years old. After years of dedicated training, monitored diet and regular lifestyle check, a ballerina gets a chance to debut on stage

There is no formal record of the inaugural Ballet Day celebration. Its purpose is two-fold. First purpose is to celebrate the day when ballet was introduced to America. And second, to showcase the beauty and grandeur of this dance which started during the 15 century originally performed by the royal family to show off wealth and power in Europe.

The annals of history recorded February 7, 1668 as the day when the Dutch Prince William III danced in the premiere of the “Ballet of Peace.” Ballet was introduced to the United States in February 7, 1827 at the Bowery Theatre through the show titled “The Deserter” which resulted to the walking out of the American women seated at the Lower Box due to the flimsiness of the ballet costumes of the dancers.

Ballet is a formalized type of performance consisting of three varieties. The most formal form is the classical ballet which became popular during the 17 century. Neo-classical ballet, the second form arising during the 19 century, uses traditional ballet but is less rigid than the first form. The pioneer of this form is George Balanchine who cofounded the New York City Ballet in 1948.

The 20 century introduced the third form called the contemporary ballet. It is a combination of the classical ballet and modern dance. Ballet performances may contain a story but its essential element is the visual spectacle. Ballet themes include romance, comedy and tragedy. Famous ballets are Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.

Ballet Day provides the opportunity to study or research on the dance. It also is the perfect excuse to go shopping for ballet paraphernalia and participate in local Ballet Day activities. Wearing your hair in a bun is also a simple observance of the day or joining flexibility exercises with friends. For those living near Ballet schools, watching a ballet performance would be the best way to observe the day.


“e” is one of those amazing numbers that arises naturally in the scheme of things.

Today, 2/7, is celebrated as “e” Day, since the first 2 digits in the number “e” are 2 and 7.

Other special numbers include “pi” (π = 3.141592653…, celebrated on Mar 14th), which is the circumference of any circle divided by its diameter; and “phi” φ = 1.6180339887…, which is the so-called “beauty ratio“. These numbers are irrational (that is, their decimals go on forever and never repeat).

e is also an irrational number and it has value:

e = 2.718281828459…

The number e was “discovered” by several mathematicians (Oughtred, Huygens, Jacob Bernoulli, Mercator and Leibniz) but they didn't quite know they had stumbled on it and didn't necessarily know its significance at first.

There are some curious properties of e, one of which is that it’s the limiting value of this expression:


What does this mean?

Let’s substitute some values to see what this limit expression means.

We start with n = 1 (we cannot start with 0, because that would give a fraction with 0 in the denominator).

Next, we substitute n = 2:
One more: n = 3

It’s easier to see what’s going on in a graph.

value of expression tend to e

I've plotted the values after substituting n = 1 up ton = 20. We can see it’s tending (getting closer to) some value. That value, marked as “e” in red on the graph, is 2.718281828459…

This function converges slowly. If I substitute in n = 1000, I only get 2 decimal place accuracy, and even if I go up to n = 100,000, I get 2.718268, which is only accurate to 4 decimal places.

A better way to find e

The value of “e” can also be found by adding the infinite sum:


The “factorial” exclamation mark, “!”, means “multiply by all positive integers smaller than the number given”. So

2! = 2 × 1 = 2


3! = 3 × 2 × 1 = 6.

We can write our infinite sum using summation notation as:


I’ll show the first few terms of this sum. When n = 0, using the convention 0! = 1, we have:

When n = 1:
When n = 2:
And one more, when n = 3:

This second infinite sum is a more efficient way of finding “e”, since we only need to add 9 terms and we have 6 decimal place accuracy.
Why is “e” so important?

So what is e good for? See Exponential and Logarithmic Functions.

It is used extensively in logarithms (which was the only way to do difficult calculations for hundreds of years before calculators came along), exponential growth (of populations, money or drug concentrations over time) and complex numbers (which were used to design the computer or mobile device you are reading this on).

So happy “e” day (February 7th, or 2/7).

Ice Cream For Breakfast Day

Ice Cream for Breakfast Day is a holiday celebrated the first Saturday in February.

Ice Cream For Breakfast is a grassroots awareness and fundraising campaign which was inspired by one of our former wish families who celebrates the anniversary of their Village trip each year by eating ice cream for breakfast, just like they did in the Ice Cream Palace during their stay at Give Kids The World.  We've turned that idea into a fundraiser and now we have families and businesses all over the world who host Ice Cream For Breakfast Socials to support our mission.

The holiday was invented on a snowy winter day in the 1960s by Florence Rappaport in Rochester, New York. The mother to six children, it was her youngest two, Ruth (now Kramer) and Joe Rappaport, who inspired her on a cold and snowy February morning. To entertain them, she declared it to be Ice Cream For Breakfast Day. She explained, "It was cold and snowy and the kids were complaining that it was too cold to do anything. So I just said, 'Let's have ice cream for breakfast.'" The next year, they reminded her of the day and a tradition began. The exact year of the first ICFBD is unrecorded, but it is speculated to be 1966, when a huge blizzard hit Rochester in late January, dumping several feet of snow on Rochester and shutting down schools. When the siblings grew up, they held parties and introduced the tradition to friends while in college, and the tradition began to spread.

Ice Cream For Breakfast Day is officially celebrated on the first Saturday of February. The holiday is often explained very simply: 1. Eat ice cream, 2. For breakfast. 3. On the first Saturday in February (or any weekend morning in the depths of winter). However, celebrations are also held throughout the month.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

February 7th marks the 15th annual observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). Led by the Strategic Leadership Council, this initiative is designed to increase HIV education, testing, community involvement, and treatment among black communities across the nation.

Compared to other racial/ethnic groups in the United States, blacks/African Americans* account for a disproportionate burden of HIV and AIDS. While blacks represent approximately 12% of the U.S. population, they account for more new HIV infections (44%), people living with HIV (43%), and deaths of persons with diagnosed HIV (48%) than any other racial/ethnic group in the nation. Among blacks, gay and bisexual men, especially young men, are the most affected population—accounting for the majority of new infections.

Despite these numbers, we have seen encouraging signs of progress in the fight against HIV in the black community. Blacks are more likely than other races and ethnicities to report that they have been tested for HIV at least once—65% versus 46% for Hispanics/Latinos and 41% for whites. And the number of new HIV infections among blacks overall is on target to meet a 2015 national goal to reduce new infections by 25%. Additionally, black women had a 21% decline in new infections in 2010 compared to 2008.

But more work needs to be done to ensure that everyone knows how to protect themselves and their partners against HIV.

Care and Prevention

HIV testing is the first critical step to help the estimated 74,000 blacks with undiagnosed HIV learn of their infection. Although blacks are more likely to get tested for HIV than any other racial/ethnic group, there is an urgent need to make sure that blacks who are living with HIV get an early diagnosis and receive timely, and ongoing, medical care and treatment.

Early diagnosis and treatment are important because effective HIV treatment can increase the number of people living with HIV who have the virus under control–allowing them to live longer, healthier lives and reducing the likelihood they will transmit HIV to others.
What Can You Do?

The theme for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2015, I Am My Brother/Sister's Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS!, means that everyone can be an important part of the solution. NBHAAD encourages black communities to:
  • Get educated. Learn basic facts about HIV transmission, testing, and prevention.
  • Get tested for HIV. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. HIV is spread mainly through unprotected sex and drug-injecting behaviors, so people who engage in these behaviors should get tested more often. To find a testing site near you, call 1-800-CDC-INFO(232-4636), visit the GetTested page, or text your ZIP code to KNOWIT (566948). You can also use one of the two FDA-approved home testing kits available in drugstores or online. Learn more about CDC's HIV testing campaigns aimed at increasing HIV testing among the black community through Testing Makes Us Stronger and Take Charge. Take the Test.
  • Get HIV protection. Today, more tools than ever are available to help prevent HIV. In addition to limiting your number of sexual partners and using condoms correctly and consistently, you can talk to your doctor about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), taking HIV medicine daily to prevent HIV infection. If you believe that you had a possible exposure to HIV, you can also talk to your doctor right away about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP must be started as soon as possible to be effective—and always within 3 days of a possible exposure.
  • Get treated. If you are HIV-positive, start treatment as soon as possible with antiretroviral therapy (ART), and stay on treatment. ART can lower the level of virus in your body enough to improve your health and greatly decrease your chance of transmitting HIV to your partner. Learn about others who have overcome challenges to HIV Treatment. See CDC's new HIV Treatment Works campaign and Living With HIV page.
  • Get involved. Raise awareness and fight stigma by sharing your story, volunteering in your community, or caring for someone who is living with HIV. Learn more through the Let's Stop HIV Together campaign.
* Referred to as black in this feature.

National Fettuccine Alfredo Day

It’s National Fettuccine Alfredo Day! Fettuccine Alfredo is a delicious pasta dish made with fettuccine (a flat ribbon-cut noodle) tossed with butter, cream, and melted Parmesan cheese.

Do you know why there are so many different pasta shapes and textures? Each one holds sauce in a slightly different way. For example, wide noodles (like Fettuccine) are best suited to thick cream sauces while short or hollow shapes (like Rotini or Penne) work best with chunky tomato-based sauces.

In 1914, one particular upset stomach originated what we now know as fettuccine alfredo. Alfredo di Lelio ran a restaurant on the Via della Scrofa in Rome. His wife Ines was pregnant with their second child, and the pregnancy caused her terrible nausea. Unable to keep much down, Alfredo made Ines a dish of plain pasta, pasta in bianco, or white pasta. He tossed the fresh-made pasta with butter and Parmesan.

Ines ate this dish regularly, with whatever happened to be the fatte in casa ("made in house") pasta. Alfredo added it to the restaurant's menu. While on their honeymoon in 1920, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, two famous American actors of the silent movies, were in the restaurant and tasted the simple pasta -- that day, fettuccine. They asked for the recipe, and brought it home to the U.S.

To express their gratitude to Alfredo and his restaurant, the couple sent a gift of silverware and a photo of the two of them in the restaurant. The gold fork and spoon were engraved with the words, "to Alfredo the King of the noodles" and their names. Reporters wrote about the gift, touting "Alfredo's fettuccine" to the Hollywood elite. Many of them visited on subsequent trips to Rome, adding more photos and cachet to the restaurant. Crowds would gather whenever there were rumors of famous actors eating there. Alfredo's restaurant became a popular tourist destination.

In 1943, di Lilio sold the restaurant to a new owner, who kept the restaurant's name (Alfredo alla Scrofa), menu, and all the photos on the wall. In 1950, Alfredo and his son Armando opened another restaurant, Il Vero Alfredo, "the true Alfredo," which is now managed by Alfredo's grandchildren. Both restaurants claim to be the originator of the dish.

But fettuccine alfredo, which to Italians was little more than buttered noodles, didn't take off in Italy as it did in the United States.

In 1977, di Lilio and a partner opened another Alfredo's near Rockefeller Center in New York City. A third Alfredo's opened in Epcot at Disney World, but closed in 2007. Together, these restaurants popularized and made ubiquitous "alfredo sauce," which has been varied with chicken, shrimp, assorted cheeses, and different ratios of flour, cream, or milk.

Back in Italy, however, the only place you'll find alfredo sauce is at the competing Alfredo restaurants, where the fettuccine alfredo is mixed tableside, often with the Pickford and Fairbanks golden fork and spoon (each has a set they claim to be the original). Singers serenade tourists as they feast. Elsewhere, you'll have to ask for the dish by its other names, including fettuccine al burro, fettuccine burro e parmigiano, or pasta in bianco. No one will know what you're asking for if you ask for fettuccine alfredo.

Fettuccine Alfredo is delicious on its own, or with vegetables and seafood on top. To celebrate National Fettuccine Alfredo Day, cook this delicious pasta dish to serve to family and friends. Bon appétit!

Send a Card to a Friend Day

If you haven't guessed already, today is “Send a card to a friend day!” It is a simple task to do. Friends that live far away we think of often. Always wanting to stay in touch and keep each other up to date on current events and family growth. So why, do we always put it off?

Our lives at times seem to take over for all of us. Work, school, clubs, games, shopping, commuting, car pooling and after school activities keep us hopping all hours of the day and night. There never seems to be any down time. Always rushing; from one place to the other just to be on time. Doing our best to keep up with all the events, which are jotted down on one calendar page or another?

Today is a special day. It allows you to set aside a few minutes or more to write a short note. Write a long one if you schedule it into your day. It doesn't matter if you use pretty stationery, greeting cards, a pulled out page from a notebook or even a memo sheet off the refrigerator. What does matter is you connect with those you miss and love wherever they live.

Spread a little kindness, send a little cheer, and let someone know that you’re thinking of them and how much you care. Those few moments or minutes that are spent recalling what’s new will brighten your friend’s life as they read it all through.

Isn't it nice to receive in the mail, a letter or note instead of a bill? Send a card today to a friend that is dear and know that you're responsible for the smile it will bring.

If you moved to Winona from some other place, there are friends left behind who miss seeing your face. Or, maybe you've been here all of your life, just remember that neighbor you were close to and sit down and write.

Here are a few local stores that carry stationery supplies in Winona and others such as Staples have stores across the country. Check your phone book or look online and find the ones in your towns too.

SuperValu and Wal-mart have an aisle dedicated to stationery and school supplies. You'll find pens, pencils, writing paper, note pads and envelopes. They also carry index cards if you want to get creative and make your own postcards to send.

Then there are the neighborhood pharmacies too. Fred’s Pharmacy, Hammond Pharmacy and Plaza Drugs all have a small section with greeting cards, envelopes and stationery sets for sale.

Look for the local stores in your area and pick up some new stationary, envelopes or greeting cards to keep on hand. Having them close and in a special draw of your desk may inspire you to write again and again. Emails are fun and fast to send, but a handwritten note shows you're a great friend!

Happy send a card to a friend day!

Take Your Child to the Library Day

Nadine Lipman, a children's librarian in Waterford, Connecticut, came up with the idea for Take Your Child to the Library Day and selected the first Saturday in February as the annual day of celebration. The idea gained popularity immediately, and librarians started planning special events, programs, and displays.  February 7, 2015 will be the 4th annual Take Your Child to the Library Day. Won't you join us?

Does my library have to celebrate on the first Saturday in February? Many libraries, for a variety of reasons, choose another day in February, or an entire week, for their celebrations. Our general policy is that any day, or group of days in February can be celebrated as Take Your Child to the Library Day with a carry-over into early March if weather becomes an issue.  The date is your choice. We only ask that you fill out the survey by the end of March at the latest.

Does it cost anything to participate How do I register? It doesn't cost anything to be part of a child's first (most recent!) visit to the Library or to join Take Your Child to the Library Day. Start a Library card drive, host a performer, run a storytime, offer a craft, or just showcase the wonderful services your Library offers every day of the year.  We can't wait to hear about the creative ideas your Library is cooking up. Registration will be online using a quick form so we can send you updates and count your participation in the grand total!

Do you have sponsors or partnerships with other groups? We have partnerships with the American Library Association's Association for Library Services to Children and Read to Grow. We also have a partnership with Demco to provide our promotional materials for sale (we receive a portion of sales). Recorded Books provides audiobook donations for our yearly raffle for participants. In 2014, Bookboard generously donated online subscriptions to all our participating libraries. We appreciate the unique contributions of all our partners and sponsors.

Who Runs "Take Your Child to the Library Day?" Nadine and Caitlin field day-to-day operations including the blog and the Facebook page. Author/illustrator Nancy Elizabeth Wallace designed our fabulous logo and continues to play an important role in the development of this international event. As you may know, Demco offers posters, bookmarks, bags, and Library card holders with our logo, and we receive a portion of those profits. In order to transact business, Take Your Child to the Library Day became an initiative of the Connecticut Library Consortium in 2012.  We hold an annual steering committee meeting in the spring with the Connecticut Library Consortium, Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, Caitlin Augusta, and Nadine Wallace, at which meeting we decide most of our plans for the coming year. We welcome feedback, suggestions, and offers of sponsorship/volunteer participation from member libraries, state representatives, authors, as well as business and agencies that support the mission of libraries.

Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day

At first glance, Wave All Your Fingers At Your Neighbors Day might appear to be an incitement to approach people that live in your vicinity and, literally, wave your fingers in their faces in an annoying and potentially dangerous manner. Do not be tempted to do this, however, as this is not, apparently, the aim.

It’s more about building bridges than destroying them. Instead of greeting your neighbors with a cursory nod as you usually do, on this particular day you should give them a cheery wave. Not just any old cheery wave through; a wave that involves all your fingers.

Pianists have an unfair advantage because they have undergone special training. Anyone can do it though. So come on, try it now. Pretend you're playing the piano, but the keyboard is tipped towards you at 90 degrees and is somewhere to the right of your head. Raise your right hand, and play something tinkly. You've got it!