Monday, July 27, 2015

Holidays and Observances for July 27 2015

Bagpipe Appreciation Day


The Bagpipe Appreciation Day celebrates this ancient musical, the Highlands Scottish Bagpipe. This instrument is a quintessential part of the Scottish tradition. The day celebrates the tunes of this traditional instrument that were used to herald battles, usher in auspicious events such as weddings and also to bid farewell at funerals.

The original bagpipes are said to have originated in the Middle East but became more popular in the Scottish Highlands and evolved there. This instrument is second only to percussion in the evolution of musical instruments. Today, the typical bagpipe consists of three pipes emerging from a sac-like bag. These bags are crafted from elk or sheep skin. These sacs fill with air that is released when the musician presses his arm to create the music. There is also a fourth pipe that holds nine holes to create changes in chord and pitch.

All the major cities in the west celebrate this day by holding at least one performance in their town square or town hall. It is worth taking some time off to attend these concerts in appreciation of this ancient musical device.

Cross Atlantic Communication Day


Today’s a good day to reach out and call (or Skype) that friend across the Pond. It’s Cross Atlantic Communication Day, marking the anniversary of the first sustained working telegraph cable between Europe and the Americas.

Before 1866, it took ten days for a message to cross the Atlantic by ship. An early form of the telegraph had been used in Germany as early as 1809, but it wasn’t until the 1830’s that related crucial innovations made the invention commercially viable.

Charles Wheatstone and William Cooke patented the first commercial telegraph in the UK in 1837. That same year inventor Samuel Morse developed a telegraph system in the US, using the language that would come to dominate the wires: Morse Code. In 1844 the U.S. installed a telegraph wire from Washington DC to Baltimore, whereupon Morse relayed its first now-famous message: “What hath God wrought?”

The idea of trans-Atlantic cable connecting Europe and the Americas appealed to several luminaries, but it’s generally seen as the brain-child of entrepreneur Cyrus Field, who raised the cash and made the first attempt in 1857. The 1,700m miles of cable was too big for any one ship to carry, so two were employed, the USS Niagara and the HMS Agamemnon. The two ships met up in the middle of the Atlantic, their two wires were spliced together, and they headed out in opposite directions, laying cable as they went. The cables broke multiple times, and the mission was eventually abandoned. The following summer, after several trials of errors, they set out again, and this time completed the mission, connecting a spliced cable from Newfoundland to Ireland.

On August 16, 1858, the first trans-Atlantic telegraph message was sent: “Glory to God in the highest; on earth, peace and good will toward men.” Followed by messages of goodwill and congratulations by Queen Victoria and President Buchanan.
“May the Atlantic telegraph, under the blessing of heaven, prove to be a bond of perpetual peace and friendship between the kindred nations, and an instrument destined by Divine Providence to diffuse religion, civilization, liberty, and law throughout the world.” — President James Buchanan
The two countries celebrated, but over the next few weeks the connection deteriorated, and finally gave out.

No one tried again for several years, and a Civil War engulfed the States. But in 1865, Cyrus Field tried again. Now there had been built one ship large enough to carry the whole cable: the Great Eastern, which was four times larger than any other ship in existence. Captain by Sir James Anderson, the Great Eastern traveled from Ireland to Newfoundland laying cable as it went. After over 1,000 miles the cable snapped, and the mission was abandoned.

The mission finally succeeded the following year when the Great Eastern lay another, more durable cable between the two coasts. The first sustained trans-Atlantic telegraph cable was completed on this day, July 27, 1866.
“It is a great work, a glory to our age and nation, and the men who have achieved it deserve to be honoured among the benefactors of their race.” — The Times, July 28, 1866
National Barbie-in-a-Blender Day


National Barbie in a Blender Day is a holiday created by a student group called Freeculture.org that promotes the public interest in intellectual property and telecommunications policy.

It seems that Tom Forsythe, an artist, had created a series of works of art to comment on the crass consumerism he saw around him. He was also commenting on the plasticisation of relationships and the myth of outward perfection. His collection was called "Food Chain Barbie" It was a series of photographs that included "Cutting Board Barbie", "Baked Barbie," and "Barbie Enchiladas." There were pictures of naked Barbies strapped to rotisseries, seated in cocktail glasses, and in blenders. Where Forsythe saw crass consumerism, I saw the objectification and dehumanization of women. Part of the beauty of art is that we can all find something unique in it.

Mattel, guardian of all things Barbie, took Forsythe to court. What followed was a 5 year legal dispute. He incurred $1.8 million dollars in legal fees to in that time. Mattel sued for copyright infringement. I understand their offense at the images in "Food Chain Barbie." The courts in 2004 decided the works were parody or satire that could not be blocked by the trademark laws. The court further found Mattel's case frivolous and unreasonable. Mattel became liable for all Forsythe's legal fees. The court case provided a large amount of publicity to an artist for a series that would have long been forgotten by most.

Barbie in a Blender Day was begun by an international student group called Freeculture.org. Their goal is to support free speech in the wake of the increasing challenges faced by those who wish to comment on society. Nelson Pavlovsky of Freeculture.org put it succinctly, "If you want to talk about the problems with society, all the widely recognized figures are copyrighted. In the past, cultural icons belonged to everyone." Today, writers, singers and artists face the looming possibility of being hauled into court by a corporation if you dare touch on their image. Not many of us could wage a sustained 5 year battle against a well funded corporation. The corporations can silence us by simply outspending us.

WARNING: I could be wrong about this, but it appears that some of these experiments may have been performed by individuals impaired by illegal substances. Do not try this at home!

National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day


More than six decades ago, courageous Americans joined Korean patriots as they defended their right to decide their own fate.  They fought through mud, snow, and heavy fire.  As they stood firm against the tide of Communism, nearly 37,000 Americans gave their last full measure of devotion.  Thanks to all who served and all who died, allied forces pushed invading armies back across the 38th parallel, and on July 27, 1953, they secured a hard-earned victory.  On National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, we honor the men and women who sacrificed so a people they had never met would know the blessings of liberty and security.

Yet our gratitude is not enough.  As a Nation, we must do more to keep faith with our veterans and the families that stand with them always.  Just as they have done their duty, we must do ours.  We will never waver in our commitment to fully account for the captured and the missing, nor will we ever stop striving to give our veterans the care and opportunities they have earned.

As we salute the men and women who made this victory possible, we reflect on the open and prosperous society that is their enduring legacy.  The Republic of Korea has risen from occupation and ruin to become one of the world's most vibrant democracies.  While carefully defending the peace won 61 years ago, the South Korean people have built an advanced, dynamic economy.  Today, the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea -- forged in war and fortified by common ideals -- remains as strong as ever.

This progress was not an accident.  It reminds us that liberty and democracy do not come easily; we must win them, tend to them constantly, and defend them without fail.  As we mark this anniversary, let us show the full care and support of a grateful Nation to every service member who fought on freedom's frontier.

National Scotch Day


National Scotch Day is celebrated annually on July 27 in the United States. While this food holiday (or more accurately beverage holiday) may be limited to those of legal drinking age, it provides an opportunity to honor this much-beloved liquor and spread awareness of the joys of scotch as well as its rich history.

Scotch is typically consumed neat or on the rocks, but is sometimes mixed with simple ingredients such as water or club soda. It is rarely made into complex cocktails, as those who drink the stuff typically like to savor its rich taste. Scotches range from the pedestrian (i.e. cheap) to the fine and pricey varieties, and some are aged for up to 18 years or longer (the older the scotch, the more it is likely to cost).

The exact origins of National Scotch Day are hard to track down, and it is unclear when and by whom this holiday was started. Scotch itself is essentially a whiskey made in Scotland, and nothing that comes from any other country may be labeled as scotch. The history of scotch as we know it dates back to the mid 1800's, when malt liquor was transformed by the invention of the Coffey or Patent Still (created by a man named Aeneas Coffey). With this invention, it became possible to make spirits out of grains rather than malt (as all prior scotches were).

Makers of scotch may promote National Scotch Day by planning events and offering specials on their product, and local bars and restaurants may reduce prices of scotch to celebrate the holiday as well. You can celebrate by sipping on a glass of scotch, and may even hold a scotch tasting with your friends, family and other scotch lovers.

Take Your Pants For A Walk Day


When it comes to unusual holidays, July 27 ranks right up there. It's Take Your Pants for a Walk Day! Seriously! While the origins and creator of this annual event are unknown, Take Your Pants for a Walk Day encourages folks across the nation to get off the couch and take a hike! Just don't forget your pants (or shorts or sweats.)

Whether you head for the hills, walk around the block or go for a nice, long jog, today serves as an important reminder that exercise is good for the body and the mind. Turn off the TV and all those handy-dandy (and often annoying) electronic devices, grab your favorite gal pal or fella and go out and smell the roses! When was the last time you really looked at the scenery in your neck of the woods? Life is short - enjoy the view!

Take Your Houseplant For A Walk Day


How many people have walked their houseplants? I don't know of any personally. Today I am going to walk one of my plants, and see if it thrives over those left behind.

According to research on the Wellcat Herbs website, either walking plants or having a plant parade will help my greenery know their neighborhood environment better. It is good for plant health and good for humans to exercise.  It is like walking your dog, but a new leash in life, you don't have to bag up pet droppings. Yahoo! Internet Life voted Wellcat Holidays as the Strange Site of the Day.

How to take your Houseplants for a Walk

You will need:
  • Plants
  • Wagon
  • Spray bottle of water
  • Music
  1. Collect plants and place them in a wagon. Leave plenty of space so all the plants will enjoy their day out. Tallest ones in the back and smallest in front and take along a spray bottle in case they get motion sick or overheated. This will refresh them and they will prosper with great care. 
  2. Talk to your plants. Explain to Spidey, the spider plant, and Zeb, the Zebra plant, that it’s a good day to stretch their legs.
  3.  Dress up with your plants put on your Sunday best to match that Ivy or Hypoestes in her Polka Dot (plant) best, there is nothing like a sunny day to chase those blues away.

Here is a list of common household plants to adorn your house with, so that next year you can take your houseplant for a walk.

Plan a Plant Parade
If you want to go all out with your plants, then gather all of your Cincinnati neighbors, friends, and family to parade these beautiful plants around the block. Perhaps you can have judging and prizes for best greenery, most flowery, tallest plant, smallest plant, most lush, and best of show.

Tips: 
  • This unique holiday is an opportunity to celebrate the little things in life.
  • Happy details will keep you and your friends chuckling for years and after all laughter is the best medicine.
  • Talking to plants will keep you well rooted and a full life.
  • Your yard will flourish while your cynical neighbor will have a barren landscape.
  • It is safer to walk with your plants; you can deter criminals by talking and singing to your plants like Mary Poppins when a stranger gets too close.
  • Walk your houseplants to prevent anything from Happening; you have watched the movie right?
Warning: If your neighbors sends men with straight-jackets, simply tell them Thomas and Ruth Roy at Wellcat.com suggested it for your plants good health and your own wellness, after all walking is a great form of exercise. In addition, it is safer to walk with your houseplants, it deters criminals effectively, just begin talking and singing to your plants when a stranger approaches and he will not even get close.

Walk on Stilts Day


If you've ever been to the circus or a parade, you have without a doubt seen someone walking along high above the crowd on a pair of stilts. To the common man, stilts are the mainstay of theatrical performers, clowns, jugglers, and that odd looking fellow from the Liberal Arts College in their annual parade. What most people don’t know is that stilts have a long and august history in many cultures, for reasons varying from ceremonial to purely practical. Walk on Stilts Day is the perfect time to learn about this surprisingly useful tools, and maybe try out a pair for yourself!

A Stilt is described as a ‘pillar, post, or pole employed to assist a person or structure in standing above the ground’. While most of us, as mentioned previously, have only seen them employed for the purposes of entertainment, they have also been used in many industries, from shepherding to construction. In some cases stilts are actually employed in the construction of a building as part of the permanent structure. After all, if you find yourself living in a flood plain, upon the beach, or some other area where the ground is less than reliable, what better way to protect yourself than raising yourself above it all?

The process of employing stilts for mobility, however, has been around since as far back as the 6th Century BC. In the Landes region of France, shepherds would use them to watch their flocks from an elevated position, while those who lived in town often used them to traverse the sodden earth in their normal activities. While they fell out of use for such practical uses for many years, recently there has been a resurgence in those industries where there is a need to work at a height further above ground than the worker can reach, and consistently enough where moving a ladder is at best inconvenient. The most common of these is the drywall industry, so commonly used is it, in fact, that a special design, and a name to match, has been put together for them. In Germany they are called Handwerkerstelzen. Or Drywall stilts.

Walk on Stilts Day gives an excellent opportunity for you to join the august ranks of people who have used the stilts for work and play throughout history. If you’re ready for a new hobby that will take you on adventures to new heights, then you’re ready to try out stilts! You can find them at a local supplier, or look online for ready made ones. The truly adventurous can even try looking online to find kits to make them. When you start out walking on stilts, try a shorter stilt to begin with, getting used to having longer legs can be quite the challenge. Then, as you get more and more proficient, start adding height to the stilts! Eventually you’ll be strolling along, with a new perspective on life!