Saturday, April 18, 2015

Holidays and Observances for Apr 19 2015

Bicycle Day

April 19, 1943, Hofmann performed a self-experiment to determine the true effects of LSD, intentionally ingesting 0.25 milligrams (250 micrograms) of the substance, an amount he predicted to be a threshold dose (an actual threshold dose is 20 micrograms). Less than an hour later, Hofmann experienced sudden and intense changes in perception. He asked his laboratory assistant to escort him home and, as use of motor vehicles was prohibited because of wartime restrictions, they had to make the journey on a bicycle. On the way, Hofmann’s condition rapidly deteriorated as he struggled with feelings of anxiety, alternating in his beliefs that the next-door neighbor was a malevolent witch, that he was going insane, and that the LSD had poisoned him. When the house doctor arrived, however, he could detect no physical abnormalities, save for a pair of incredibly dilated pupils. Hofmann was reassured, and soon his terror began to give way to a sense of good fortune and enjoyment, as he later wrote...
"... little by little I could begin to enjoy the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes. Kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in colored fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux ..."
The events of the first LSD trip, now known as “Bicycle Day”, after the bicycle ride home, proved to Hofmann that he had indeed made a significant discovery: apsychoactive substance with extraordinary potency, capable of causing significant shifts of consciousness in incredibly low doses. Hofmann foresaw the drug as a powerful psychiatric tool; because of its intense and introspective nature, he couldn’t imagine anyone using it recreationally. Bicycle Day is increasingly observed in psychedelic communities as a day to celebrate the discovery of LSD.

The celebration of Bicycle Day originated in DeKalb, IL., in 1985, when Thomas B. Roberts, then a Professor at Northern Illinois University, invented the name "Bicycle Day" when he founded the first Bicycle Day celebration at his home. Several years later, he sent an announcement made by one of his students to friends and Internet lists, thus propagating the idea and the celebration. His original intent was to commemorate Hofmann's original, accidental exposure on April 16, but that date fell midweek and was not a good time for the party, so he chose the 19th to honor Hofmann's first intentional exposure.

John Parker Day

John Parker (July 13, 1729 – September 17, 1775) was an American colonial farmer, mechanic and soldier who commanded the Lexington militia at the Battle of Lexington on April 19, 1775.

On April 19, 1775 the British commander in Boston Thomas Gage despatched an expedition of around 700 regulars under Colonel Francis Smith to search the town of Concord for hidden supplies and weapons. Lexington lay directly on the road that Smith men's took to reach Concord.

When reports of the approach of a sizable force of British soldiers reached Lexington overnight, men from the town and the surrounding area began to gather on the Common. Parker's Lexington company were not minutemen, as sometimes stated, but from the main body of Massachusetts Militia. Parker was initially uncertain as to exactly what was happening. Conflicting stories arrived and as the British regulars had spent much of the winter engaged in harmless route marches through the Massachusetts countryside their exact intention was far from certain.

When Smith became aware that the countryside had been alarmed and that resistance might be encountered, he sent a detachment of light infantry under Major John Pitcairn ahead of the main column. Pitcairn's advance guard reached Lexington first and drew up on the Common opposite Parker's men. Parker ordered his men to disperse to avoid a confrontation, but they either failed to hear him or ignored his instructions. Shortly afterwards firing broke out despite the fact that both sides had orders not to shoot. In the following fight eight militia were killed and ten wounded while one British soldier was wounded. The lopsided casualty list led to initial reports of a massacre, stories of which spread rapidly around the colony further inflaming the situation. There remains considerable doubt as to exactly what occurred during the fight at Lexington, and a variety of different accounts emerged as to what had taken place and who had fired first. By the time Smith arrived with his main body of troops ten minutes later, he had trouble restoring order amongst his troops, who had chased fleeing militiamen into the fields around the town. Smith then decided, in spite of the fighting, to continue the march to Concord.

One of Parker's company, many years later, recalled Parker's order at Lexington Green to have been, "Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here." Paul Revere recalled it as having been "Let the soldiers pass by. Do not molest them without they begin first". During the skirmish Parker witnessed his cousin Jonas Parker killed by a British bayonet. Later that day he rallied his men to attack the regulars returning to Boston in an ambush known as "Parker's Revenge".

National Amaretto Day

Today is National Amaretto Day! Amaretto is a popular Italian liqueur that is a common ingredient in many dishes and beverages. Its most notable characteristic is its strong almond flavoring. This flavor comes from apricot kernel oil, burnt sugar, and spices. The name "amaretto" means "slightly bitter" and refers to the aftertaste of the drink.

Amaretto has been a staple in Italian cooking for centuries especially for desserts and to flavor coffee. It's s surprising, then, to know that it didn't make it to North American liquor cabinets and drinking establishments until the 1960s. Amaretto has, however, maintained its place as a favorite cordial and cooking ingredient since its first inception.

As legend has it, amaretto was first created back in The Renaissance by a beautiful young innkeeper in Saronno, Italy. In 1525, the citizens of Saronno were completing the reconstruction of their city which was hit hard by war. Bernardino Luini (a member of the Leonardo da Vinci School of Art) was commissioned by the Basilica of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Saronno to paint a fresco of the Adoration of the Magi which included the Madonna.

Luini, passionate about his work and art, went on a lengthy search for the perfect model to represent his Madonna. He found that looking for someone who was patient, poised and beautiful was an arduous task until he first laid his artistic glance on the fair-haired innkeeper.

It was only a matter of time before the young innkeeper fell deeply and passionately in love with the artist. Her love was so deep that she created a special potion for her lover: amaretto. Unfortunately, the young innkeeper's name has been lost, but her likeness and amaretto recipe lives on.

Since its first inception in 1525, the recipe for amaretto has reportedly remained unchanged. Today, Amaretto is carefully crafted with high-quality natural ingredients like absolute alcohol, burnt sugar and the pure essence of 17 selected fruits herbs and fruits soaked in an apricot kernel oil.

Celebrate this historical liqueur tonight by enjoying a divine glass of amaretto or try adding it to one of your recipes for some delicious almond flavoring!

National Garlic Day

If you haven't already been made aware, April 19 was National Garlic Day! In honor of the pungent little cloves, here is some history and information on its nutritional content and medicinal properties, along with some tips on how to incorporate garlic into your meals.

Garlic has a very lengthy history, dating back as far as 6,000 years and known for its use for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Native to central Asia, it has long been a staple in the Mediterranean diet. The cloves were most commonly used as a seasoning in cuisines of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It was also known to ancient Egyptians, having said to be fed to workers who built the Great Pyramid of Giza; the Egyptians believed it boosted their stamina. Plague-phobic Europeans even ate whole cloves of garlic in order to fight off what was known as the Black Death.

America, on the other hand, hasn't always loved garlic, though. At one time, it was frowned upon, dubbed "Bronx vanilla" and "Italian perfume" in the 1920s. It wasn't until about 1940 that America embraced garlic and recognized its value.

The pungent cloves have become known as nature's wonder drug, being recognized for its medicinal properties. Here are some reasons why:
  • Although not a substitute for prescribed medicine, with use of one or two medium-sized cloves per day, garlic has been shown to assist with blood pressure and LDL cholesterol management.
  • Within the arterial system, studies have shown garlic reduces atherosclerotic buildup (plaque). Additionally, garlic helps to prevent blood clots from forming, therefore, reduces risk of stroke.
  • Garlic has anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.
  • Tests have shown that garlic is a proven anti-oxidant, especially aged garlic, which therefore protects the body against damaging free radicals.
  • Garlic has been credited with extending human longevity.
  • In its raw form, garlic is a potent and natural antibiotic, killing strains of bacteria that have become resistant or immune to modern antibiotics.
  • Garlic may help to remove heavy metals from the body, such as lead and mercury.
  • Folk medicine tells us that there are a number of garlic based treatments that claim to treat or cure earache.
  • Garlic was used as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene during WWI and WWII, a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that arises when a considerable mass of body tissue dies.
  • Cloves of garlic cloves have long been used as a remedy for infections, such as digestive disorders, chest problems, and fungal infections.
  • There is a long tradition in herbal medicine where garlic is used to treat hoarseness and coughing, dating as far back as Cherokee tribes using it as an expectorant for coughs and croup, a respiratory condition that interferes with normal breathing.
  • Garlic has a reputation for protecting individuals from mosquito bites, working as a natural mosquito repellent.
  • Consuming garlic lowers, or at least helps, to regulate blood sugar.
  • Garlic is rich in protein, along with vitamins A, B-1, and C. It also contains essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron, in addition to 17 different amino acids.
  • Although there is no cure for snoring, traditional medicine claims that garlic in its "stinking rose" form and other "hot" foods (onions, horseradish, etc.) reduce it.
  • Garlic has been claimed to prevent certain types of cancer, such as stomach and colon cancers. Countries where garlic is consumed in higher amounts have been found to have an overall lower prevalence of cancer.
  • It has been suggested that garlic might help to fight against acne, although scientific evidence does not support this theory.
  • Garlic is said to provide an enhanced sense of well-being, making you feel happy just by consuming it.
If not for medicinal purposes, garlic can add great flavor to many culinary dishes. Garlic can be consumed both raw or cooked. It can be used whole, crushed, chopped, minced, squashed, baked, roasted; you name it. Although, the finer the chop, the stronger the taste. Cooked garlic also has a milder, sweeter taste than raw, and roasted garlic has a completely different taste. It can also be substituted with garlic powder, although it has a different taste (1/8 teaspoon = one clove).

Extra garlic can be used as a seasoning, reducing the need for salt and inadvertently lowering sodium levels. You can even replace your salt shaker with garlic salt. Use garlic alone or with a combination of other herbs such as onion salt, basil, parsley, or black pepper.

Garlic can be applied to breads to create classic dishes, such as garlic bread. Oil can also be flavored with garlic cloves, and then be used to season vegetables, meats, breads, and pasta. Add roasted garlic to salsas, dips, and sauces. Garlic is even a great addition to salads, and cooked garlic is said to have a very mild, nutty flavor that goes well with chocolate and other sweets.

However, even garlic has its possible side effects, especially if used in excess. Over-eating garlic can produce problems, particularly irritation or damage to the digestive tract. Some individuals may even be allergic to garlic, showing signs of skin rash, temperature, and headaches. Garlic can also potentially disrupt anti-coagulants and research has concluded that garlic supplements may cause potentially harmful side effects when combined with medication used to treat HIV and AIDS.

As with anything else, if used for medicinal purposes, always consult your doctor first.

Of course, garlic is also known for causing bad breath, which by the way, can be neutralized by sipping milk or eating parsley!

How do you enjoy eating your garlic?

National Hanging Out Day

Every year, on April 19th, Project Laundry List joins together with hundreds of organizations from around the country to educate communities about energy consumption. National Hanging Out Day was created to demonstrate how it is possible to save money and energy by using a clothesline.

The Concept
Project Laundry List For many people, hanging out clothes is therapeutic work. It is the only time during the week that some folks can slow down to feel the wind and listen to the birds. Consistent use of clotheslines or drying racks can save the average household much more than a hundred dollars every year in energy bills. Clothes last longer and smell better, too.

Some communities prohibit clotheslines, ostensibly, for aesthetic reasons. National Hanging Out Day is a time to protest such draconian covenants. In some states, “Right to Dry” legislation is being introduced to override these restrictive community regulations that ban the use of clotheslines.

In this country, six to ten percent of residential energy use goes toward running clothes dryers. The average American uses more energy running a clothes dryer than the average African uses in a year for all her energy needs. A typical National Hanging Out Day event will make people aware of these startling facts. Handing out wooden clothespins, generating community discussion about simple ways to save energy, and providing basic information about local energy sources are the three central activities of most National Hanging Out Day events.

Laundry is used as a beautiful art form to attract public attention. Statistics and sentiments are often painted on T-shirts and pants to make the case for using a clothesline (e.g., “Hang Your Pants, Stop the Nuke Plants”).

Is your community dependent on large hydroelectric dams, nuclear plants, or fossil fuels? Celebrate and encourage the use of that glorious, big reactor in the sky—our Sun—by holding a National Hanging Out Day event in your community. Hanging out clothes in public places to make an environmental statement started in 1995 at Middlebury College, when students got together to mobilize, educate and energize other students.

Get Active
To involve yourself and community, contact Project Laundry List, send a contribution, and pass this description along to a friend. Register your local group as a supporter of National Hanging Out Day.

Oklahoma City Bombing Commemoration Day

Just after 9 a.m., a massive truck bomb explodes outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The blast collapsed the north face of the nine-story building, instantly killing more than 100 people and trapping dozens more in the rubble. Emergency crews raced to Oklahoma City from across the country, and when the rescue effort finally ended two weeks later the death toll stood at 168 people killed, including 19 young children who were in the building's day-care center at the time of the blast.

On April 21, the massive manhunt for suspects in the worst terrorist attack ever committed on U.S. soil by an American resulted in the capture of Timothy McVeigh, a 27-year-old former U.S. Army soldier who matched an eyewitness description of a man seen at the scene of the crime. On the same day, Terry Nichols, an associate of McVeigh's, surrendered at Herington, Kansas, after learning that the police were looking for him. Both men were found to be members of a radical right-wing survivalist group based in Michigan, and on August 8 John Fortier, who knew of McVeigh's plan to bomb the federal building, agreed to testify against McVeigh and Nichols in exchange for a reduced sentence. Two days later, a grand jury indicted McVeigh and Nichols on murder and conspiracy charges.

While still in his teens, Timothy McVeigh acquired a penchant for guns and began honing survivalist skills he believed would be necessary in the event of a Cold War showdown with the Soviet Union. Lacking direction after high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and proved a disciplined and meticulous soldier. It was during this time that he befriended Terry Nichols, a fellow 13 years his senior, who shared his survivalist interests.

In early 1991, McVeigh served in the Persian Gulf War and was decorated with several medals for a brief combat mission. Despite these honors, he was discharged from the U.S. Army at the end of the year, one of many casualties of the U.S. military downsizing that came after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Another result of the Cold War's end was that McVeigh shifted his ideology from a hatred of foreign communist governments to a suspicion of the U.S. federal government, especially as its new elected leader, Democrat Bill Clinton, had successfully campaigned for the presidency on a platform of gun control.

The August 1992 shoot-out between federal agents and survivalist Randy Weaver at his cabin in Idaho, in which Weaver's wife and son were killed, followed by the April 19, 1993, inferno near Waco, Texas, that killed some 80 Branch Davidians, deeply radicalized McVeigh, Nichols, and their associates. In early 1995, Nichols and McVeigh planned an attack on the federal building in Oklahoma City, which housed, among other federal agencies, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)--the agency that had launched the initial raid on the Branch Davidian compound in 1993.

On April 19, 1995, the two-year anniversary of the disastrous end to the Waco standoff, McVeigh parked a Ryder rental truck loaded with a diesel-fuel-fertilizer bomb outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and fled. Minutes later, the massive bomb exploded, killing 168 people.

On June 2, 1997, McVeigh was convicted on 15 counts of murder and conspiracy, and on August 14, under the unanimous recommendation of the jury, was sentenced to die by lethal injection. Michael Fortier was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $200,000 for failing to warn authorities about McVeigh's bombing plans. Terry Nichols was found guilty on one count of conspiracy and eight counts of involuntary manslaughter, and was sentenced to life in prison.

In December 2000, McVeigh asked a federal judge to stop all appeals of his convictions and to set a date for his execution. Federal Judge Richard Matsch granted the request. On June 11, 2001, McVeigh, 33, died of lethal injection at the U.S. penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was the first federal prisoner to be put to death since 1963.