Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Holidays and Observances for Apr 21 2015

Bulldogs are Beautiful Day

If there’s ever a day when it’s time to look beyond appearances, it’s Bulldogs Are Beautiful Day. Known for their wrinkly faces, stocky builds and tendency to slobber, bulldogs don’t often find themselves associated with the word ‘beautiful’. On this occasion, however, things are different.

To celebrate, owners treat their beloved pets to a special adventure – be it a walk in the park or something more extensive. Delicious treats and extra cuddles are usually on the menu, too. Some dog-lovers dress their pets in cute garments and accessories. Those who don’t already own bulldogs, but have always wanted a furry, dribbling, loyal friend, can consider rescuing one from a dog home.

The Bulldog is a medium-sized breed of dog commonly referred to as the English Bulldog or British Bulldog. Other Bulldog breeds include the American Bulldog, Old English Bulldog (now extinct), Olde English Bulldogge, and the French Bulldog. The Bulldog is a muscular, heavy dog with a wrinkled face and a distinctive pushed-in nose. The American Kennel Club (AKC), The Kennel Club (UK), and the United Kennel Club (UKC) oversee breeding standards. Bulldogs are the 5th most popular purebreed in the United States in 2013 according to the American Kennel Club.

The term "Bulldog" was first mentioned in literature around 1500, the oldest spelling of the word being Bondogge and Bolddogge. The first reference to the word with the modern spelling is dated 1631 or 1632 in a letter by a man named Preswick Eaton where he writes: "procuer mee two good Bulldogs, and let them be sent by ye first shipp". In 1666 Christopher Merretapplied: "Canis pugnax, a Butchers Bull or Bear Dog". as an entry in his Pinax Rerum Naturalium Britannicarum.

The designation "bull" was applied because of the dog's use in the sport of bull baiting. This entailed the setting of dogs (after placing wagers on each dog) onto a tethered bull. The dog that grabbed the bull by the nose and pinned it to the ground would be the victor. It was common for a bull to maim or kill several dogs at such an event, either by goring, tossing, or trampling. Over the centuries, dogs used for bull-baiting developed the stocky bodies and massive heads and jaws that typify the breed as well as a ferocious and savage temperament. Bull-baiting, along with bear-baiting, reached the peak of its popularity in England in the early 1800s until they were both made illegal by the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835. This amended the existing legislation to protect animals from mistreatment and included (as "cattle") bulls, dogs, bears, and sheep, so that bull and bear-baiting as well as cockfighting became prohibited. Therefore, the Old English Bulldog had outlived its usefulness in England as a sporting animal and its active or "working" days were numbered. However, emigrants did have a use for such dogs in the New World. In mid-17th century New York, Bulldogs were used as a part of a citywide roundup effort led by Governor Richard Nicolls. Because cornering and leading wild bulls were dangerous, Bulldogs were trained to seize a bull by its nose long enough for a rope to be secured around its neck. Bulldogs as pets were continually promoted by dog dealer Bill George.

Despite slow maturation so that growing up is rarely achieved by two and a half years, Bulldogs' lives are relatively short. At five to six years of age they are starting to show signs of aging.

In time, the original old English Bulldog was crossed with the pug. The outcome was a shorter, wider dog with a brachycephalic skull. Though today's Bulldog looks tough, he cannot perform the job he was originally created for as he cannot withstand the rigors of running and being thrown by a bull, and also cannot grip with such a short muzzle.

The oldest single breed specialty club is The Bulldog Club (England), which was formed in 1878. Members of this club met frequently at the Blue Post pub onOxford Street in London. There they wrote the first standard of perfection for the breed. In 1894 the two top Bulldogs, King Orry and Dockleaf, competed in a contest to see which dog could walk 20 miles. King Orry was reminiscent of the original Bulldogs, lighter boned and very athletic. Dockleaf was smaller and heavier set, more like modern Bulldogs. King Orry was declared the winner that year, finishing the 20-mile walk while Dockleaf collapsed. The Bulldog was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886.

At the turn of the 20th century, Ch. Rodney Stone became the first Bulldog to command a price of $5,000 when he was bought by controversial Irish American political figure Richard Croker.

Kindergarten Day

A kindergarten (German About this sound Kindergarten (help·info), literally children's garden) is a preschool educational approach based around playing, singing, practical activities, and social interaction as part of the transition from home to school. Many aspects of the approach, developed by Friedrich Fröbel in Germany, are now seen as essential elements of early-years education around the world.

Fröbel created the first kindergarten in Bad Blankenburg in 1837 as an experimental social experience for children entering school, believing that children should be nurtured of and nourished 'like plants in a garden'. The term is used in many countries to describe a variety of educational institutions for children ranging from the ages of two to seven based on variety of teaching methods.

In an age when school was restricted to children who had already learned to read and write at home, many attempts were made to make school accessible to the children of women who worked in factories or were orphans.

In 1779, Johann Friedrich Oberlin and Louise Scheppler founded in Strassbourg an early establishment for caring for and educating pre-school children whose parents were absent during the day. At about the same time, in 1780, similar infant establishments were established in Bayern In 1802, Pauline zur Lippe established a preschool center in Detmold.

In 1816, Robert Owen, a philosopher and pedagogue, opened the first British and probably globally the first infant school in New Lanark, Scotland. In conjunction with his venture for cooperative mills Owen wanted the children to be given a good moral education so that they would be fit for work. His system was successful in producing obedient children with basic literacy and numeracy.

Samuel Wilderspin opened his first infant school in London in 1819, and went on to establish hundreds more. He published many works on the subject, and his work became the model for infant schools throughout England and further afield. Play was an important part of Wilderspin's system of education. He is credited with inventing the playground. In 1823, Wilderspin published On the Importance of Educating the Infant Poor, based on the school. He began working for the Infant School Society the next year, informing others about his views. He also wrote "The Infant System, for developing the physical, intellectual, and moral powers off all children from 1 to seven years of age".

National Chocolate-Covered Cashews Day

National Chocolate Covered Cashews Day is celebrated each year on April 21.  A bowl of these delicious nuts, covered in chocolate will definitely not last very long.  They are a well-known favorite during the holidays but can be enjoyed anytime throughout the year.

The cashew is a tree from the tree family, Anacardiaceae.  It’s English name comes from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree “caju”.  This tree is originally native to Northeastern Brazil however it is now widely grown in tropical climates for it’s cashew fruit and nuts.

The cashew nut is a very popular snack with a rich flavor.  The nut is often eaten roasted, on it’s own, lightly salted, sugared, or covered in chocolate as we are celebrating it today.

The shell of the cashew nut is toxic, which is why the cashew is shelled before it is sold to consumers

You can buy chocolate covered cashews by the pound or you can make them yourself.

Fun Cashew Facts:
  • Pistachio, mango, cashew and poison ivy are in the same family.
  • Cashews are native to Costa Rica and Central America. The fresh cashew nut has a substance inside that produce a big burn and rash in skin and mouth, at the same time this is a highly valuable product known as Cashew Nut Shell Liquid or CNSL, ingredient that have special structural features for transformation into specialty chemicals and high value polymers, this is important considering the fact that, since this is a renewable resource, is better than synthetics.
  • One thing is the cashew nut and a different thing is the cashew apple, this last one is a kind of fruit to which it’s attached the nut, this fleshy fruit has an aroma some people love while others dislike, the most common way of preparation of this fruit is doing a tasteful juice mixed with water and sugar.
  • Cashews in Costa Rica are harvested during March and April.
  • A quite interesting experience is to burn in wood fire a raw cashew nut, this CNSL is highly flammable and while it burns produces impressive tiny explosions. Kids shouldn’t try this without parent’s supervision.  Gases and fumes can also irritate, so this experiment should be done in open spaces.
National Peeps Day

You can eat them, melt them, play with them, sculpt them, age them, decorate them and name them. They are the subject of urban legends, Pinterest posts and craft contests and have been featured on "Good Morning America," "South Park" and "Jeopardy," to name a few. They are Peeps, and they've evolved from a classic Easter candy to a beloved cult classic.

These marshmallow-puffed, sugar-coated, neon-hued creatures are the product of Pennsylvania-based candy company Just Born, which also makes Mike & Ikes, Hot Tamales and Goldenberg's Peanut Chews. Peeps, however, have captured Americans' hearts, minds and imaginations like no other candy. While Peeps' popularity may be driven by populist support, Just Born has found ways to leverage our fascination with Peeps and has helped cultivate the product into an American icon.

Peeps have been around since at least the 1950s, when in 1953, to be exact, Just Born acquired the candy company that made Peeps — by hand. Bob Born, son of Just Born's founder, Sam Born, quickly went to work to modernize the process, resulting in a process that today turns out 4 million Peeps a day.

For many decades, the terms "Peeps" applied only to classic yellow marshmallow chicks with the brown eyes and wisp of marshmallow tail. Today, there is a veritable menagerie of Peeps, ranging from chicks to bunnies, ghosts, pumpkins and Christmas trees. Not only that, there are now Peeps & Co. retail stores located in Washington, D.C., at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., and in Bethlehem, Pa., near the company's headquarters.

The company believes that continuing to grow and change will help inspire its customers to find new reasons to love Peeps.

"Fans have long requested a store so that they could connect with their favorite brands throughout the year," said Aubrecia Cooper, of Peeps & Co. retail division. "[Opening stores] has been an effort in the works for some time."

Responding to fans' interest in Peeps is part of what has helped the company continue to build the brand. Embracing people's desire to create with Peeps is another way the company has done that.

"We saw long ago that our fans love to create with Peeps," Cooper said. "Then we noted the first Peeps diorama contests hosted by the Pioneer Press and Washington Post … and we recognized the excitement these types of activities instilled among fans and we decided to support these contests with free prize packages."

The company now also sponsors its own Peeps diorama contest and posts listings to other contests on its Peeps website.

Integrating its corporate brand with organic product-based contests and pop culture mediums is part of the Peeps marketing plan.

"We work hard to make sure our fans and media are always stimulated with lots of great products and information," Cooper said. "However, once an idea or product is out there, our strong fan base certainly has a way of making sure our efforts take on a life of their own."

The company has also embraced social media — its Facebook fan page has 221,000 "likes" and it has become a Pinterest staple with users sharing their favorite Peeps recipes and creations. It also has some lower tech promotions, too. Its Peeps chick car is currently touring the South and Midwest.

"We try to stay current by using social media, and we try new strategies to build brand awareness," Cooper said. The company also regularly creates and shares new Peeps recipes on its website.

Its newest venture, the retail stores, will be rolled out slowly. There are no immediate plans to open any more stores, she said.

"While we do intend to keep growing, we want to make sure that we do so in the best interest of our customers and our business," she said. "We will work hard at refining our best practices and finding great locations that fit our store’s essence."

National Surprise Drug Test Day

Everybody knows that 4/20 (420) is -- unofficially, of course -- National Weed (or Smoke Marijuana) Day. But did you know that 4/21 is National Surprise Drug Test Day? Surprised? You shouldn't be -- somebody was bound to think of it sooner or later.

Some are going to think -- now why would anybody go to all the trouble to make up a fake national day? Following in the wake of 4/20, otherwise known as National Weed Day or National Smoke (Marijuana) Day, which has been celebrated for years by cannabis connoisseurs, there now appears to be a 4/21, or National Surprise Drug Test Day. And although some would go so far as to note the appropriateness of the timing, there would be others who would simply want to know why people are being such a buzzkill.

One fake holiday apparently deserves another...

Because there is no such holiday, officially or unofficially, as National Surprise Drug Test Day. No 4/21 to follow 4/20: National Pot Day, apparent fake holiday precursor. It was all concocted by someone with an apparent sense of humor, not only realizing that smoking marijuana is illegal (save in a few selected states and under restricted circumstances -- like medical marijuana) and the detection of said act via drug test can get an individual fired from their job but that one of the side effects of smoking cannabis is a heightened sense of paranoia.

(You can almost hear the potheads as they collectively moan, "Totally uncool, dude.")

Some might also find it amusing that 4/20 (or National Weed Day), although it has a history (as chronicled by Huffington post in 2010), is a totally unofficial holiday as well (refer back to the line where it is noted that marijuana is illegal). The 420 holiday is looked upon primarily as a day of protest against marijuana not being legal. Still, not that many potheads are known for needing a holiday -- or a reason to protest marijuana's illegality -- to enjoy their favorite pastime...

So where did the National Surprise Drug Test Day idea come from? It is difficult to tell. However, people have been burning up Twitter with tweets on the topic for days.

Somebody even a fired up a Facebook page to add to the fun: "Make 4/21 National Drug Test Day." With the motto "Detox can't save ya now," the page has been "liked" by over 1,200 people.

A Gallup Poll released in October noted for the first time in the history of the poll, more people indicated that marijuana use should be legalized than did not. In fact, 50 percent of the poll's respondents maintained that smoking pot should be legal. Forty-six percent responded that it should remain illegal.

The poll reflected a totally different picture in 1969 when the survey was first taken. Only 12 percent thought marijuana should be legal; 84 percent thought it should be illegal.

Still, if public sentiment continues to rise in favor of legalization, there might one day be no need for a National Weed (or Pot, or Smoke Marijuana) Day. And if cannabis usage finally does become legal, there certainly won't be a need for a National Surprise Drug Test Day -- faux or otherwise.