Friday, March 27, 2015

Holidays and Observances for Mar 27 2015

National “Joe” Day

National Joe Day is celebrated on March 27th of each year.  The absence of any clear origin for the use of joe to mean coffee has, as usual, led to stories being created to explain where it came from.

A persistent one alleges that it derives from the ban imposed by Josephus “Joe” Daniels, Secretary of the Navy during World War I, on serving alcohol aboard US Navy ships, except on very special occasions. Coffee, it is said, became the beverage of choice and started to be called Joe in reference to him. The problem with this story is the dates. Cup of joe first appears in print in 1930 but the order to ban alcohol — General Order 99 — was issued on 1 June 1914. It banned officers’ wine messes, which had only been permitted since 1893; ships had otherwise been dry since the spirit ration was abolished in 1862. It seems hardly likely that the loss of a wine mess limited to officers on board otherwise alcohol-free ships would have led to a nickname for coffee that only started to be written down 16 years after the order.

Professor Jonathan Lighter, in the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, leans towards another story: that it came from the Stephen Foster song Old Black Joe, with the resultant mental link between black and coffee. It is true that the song — written in 1860 — was extremely popular at one time, but it makes no reference to coffee, so linking the two is implausible.

The most boring, but most probable, suggestion is that it is a modification of java or jamoke for coffee, perhaps under the influence of one or other of the many expressions at the time that contained the word Joe — for example, “an ordinary Joe” (though “GI Joe” for an enlisted man in the US military is from the next decade). It is significant that an early example appears in 1931 in the Reserve Officer’s Manual by a man named Erdman: “Jamoke, Java, Joe. Coffee. Derived from the words Java and Mocha, where originally the best coffee came from”.

National Spanish Paella Day

Invite the whole family and then some for a pile-on paella party - March 27 is National Paella Day.

Not only is this dish rich in a multitude of flavorful ingredients, but paella is just bursting with a storied heritage as well. None of the three varieties are the same, so you'll have plenty to keep you occupied today.

Originally created in Valencia on the east coast of Spain, it has been called Spain's national dish by non-residents, but proud Valencians refer to it as one of their main symbols. Varieties include Valenciana (no surprise there), de marisco (seafood), mixta (a mixture of meat and seafood) and vegetariana (vegetable).

Valencian paella typically combines short-grain white rice, chicken, rabbit, snails, butter beans, great northern beans, artichokes, tomatoes, rosemary, sweet paprika, saffron and garlic. Seafood, as you can guess, substitutes fresh fruits of the sea for the meat and beans. And somewhere down the line, people living outside of Valencia mixed the two recipes together, creating mixed paella.

Making paella involves toasting a layer of rice at the bottom of the giant paella pan over an open flame or burner. The name of the crisp rice that sticks to the bottom of the pan is socorrat.

Try paella with poblanos for a spicy dinner. One thing is for sure - with paella, you won't need side dishes for the one-pan meal that makes enough to feed an army.

Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day

Today is Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day! What country music song always puts a smile on your face? Perhaps it’s Johnny Cash's "Every Time I Itch I Wind Up Scratching You," Kenny Chesney's "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy," or Homer & Jethro's "She Made Toothpicks Out Of The Timber Of My Heart." Today is the day to pay tribute to these unique songs!

Country music evolved from Appalachian folk music in the 1920s and became a nationwide sensation in the 1940s. The Grand Ole Opry radio station in Nashville, Tennessee began broadcasting weekly concerts that showcased all the different genres of country music—hillbilly, honky-tonk, bluegrass, western, rockabilly, gospel, and more.

In honor of today’s Reason to Celebrate, put on your cowboy hat, get out your banjo, and belt out your favorite quirky country music song!

Viagra Day

On this day in 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves use of the drug Viagra, an oral medication that treats impotence.

Sildenafil, the chemical name for Viagra, is an artificial compound that was originally synthesized and studied to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina pectoris (a form of cardiovascular disease). Chemists at the Pfizer pharmaceutical company found, however, that while the drug had little effect on angina, it could induce penile erections, typically within 30 to 60 minutes. Seeing the economic opportunity in such a biochemical effect, Pfizer decided to market the drug for impotence. Sildenafil was patented in 1996, and a mere two years later–a stunningly short time compared to other drugs–it was approved by the FDA for use in treating "erectile dysfunction," the new clinical name for impotence. Though unconfirmed, it is believed the drug was invented by Peter Dunn and Albert Wood.

Viagra's massive success was practically instantaneous. In the first year alone, the $8-$10 pills yielded about a billion dollars in sales. Viagra's impact on the pharmaceutical and medical industries, as well as on the public consciousness, was also enormous. Though available by prescription only, Viagra was marketed on television, famously touted by ex-presidential candidate Bob Dole, then in his mid-70s. Such direct-to-consumer marketing was practically unprecedented for prescription drugs (now, sales and marketing account for approximately 30 percent of the pharmaceutical industry's costs, in some cases more than research and development). The drug was also offered over the internet–customers needed only to fill out an "online consultation" to receive samples.

An estimated 30 million men in the United States suffer from erectile dysfunction and a wave of new Viagra competitors, among them Cialis (tadalafil) and Levitra (vardenafil), has blown open the market. Drug companies are now not just targeting older men like Dole, but men in their 30s and 40s, too. As with many drugs, the long-term effects of Viagra on men's health are still unclear (Viagra does carry warnings for those who suffer from heart trouble), but its popularity shows no signs of slowing. To date, over 20 million Americans have tried it, and that number is sure to increase as the baby boomer population continues to age.