Thursday, August 27, 2015

Holidays and Observances for August 27 2015

"The Duchess" Who Wasn't Day


“The Duchess” Who Wasn’t Day celebrates the life of Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, an irish novelist who was always published under the pen name “The Duchess” in the United States – also the name of her most popular novel, published in 1887. Margaret is responsible for the popular phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, in her book Molly Bawn, so try and slip it into conversation!

In total, The Duchess had at least 57 works attributed to her name but could have written many, many more as a lot of her early work was published as Anonymous, and later as Mrs Hungerford, before “The Duchess” became popular in the States. She also wrote many newspaper articles and had a large family – four daughters and two sons.

Born on the 27th April 1855 in County Cork, she won prizes in school for writing stories. After the death of her first husband in 1876 The Duchess took to writing more seriously to support her three daughters, and it was shortly after this that her first book “Phyllis” was written, and a little later on “Molly Bawn”.

She remarried in 1882, had two sons and a daughter with her second husband and eventually died of typhoid fever in 1897.

Just Because Day


On August 27, is Just Because Day. Why? Just because! It is believed that it was founded in 2005 as a chance to do something without a rhyme or reason. Reason is the ability of the human mind to form and operate on concepts in abstraction, in an ordered and usually a goal-oriented manner. Often you do something because you have to, or you want to, or it's expected of you. None of those applies today. 

If you've ever wanted to act on a strange impulse but without any logical motivation to do so, normally you still don't. But don't let that stop you on Just Because Day! You could start with the first thing that comes to your mind. Maybe you think about buying something without a need, think about walking backwards or throwing spitballs on the floor. Just feel free to do this just because.

Today, don’t do things because you have to. On this day, everything you do, do it just because! You don’t need any reasons, just do it. The actions can vary from doing something you’ve always wanted to do but never had a reason to do so, to doing something nice for someone – just because.

Can’t think of anything? Here are five awesome ideas to get you started:
  • Do the unexpected – act out of character and surprise your friends with a new attitude. If they have any questions, tell them you’re doing it just because.
  • Call in to work and let them know you won’t be going in just because. Well, maybe just call in sick, your boss might not be into the holiday spirit so much!
  • Buy something you don’t need.
  • Get your special someone some flowers, chocolate or a nice card.
  • Text, call or visit someone you haven’t seen in a while to catch up.
Hope that helped you out with some ideas!

Kiss Me Day


Well now, it's Kiss Me Day - one of my favorite holidays.  The holiday marks the very first screen kiss in 1929 between that spinach chugging cartoon slugger, Popeye the Sailor Man and his one true lady love, the ahead-of-her time-skinny-as-a-rail Olive Oyl.  Her response? "My hero," she said, falling into a swoon - possibly from hunger.  It was, after all, the beginning of the Depression. Today is the day for heroes and their sweethearts to demonstrate their affection for one another with a bit of labial osculation (it means kissing so calm down all you prepubescents).

A kiss is the touch or pressing of one's lips against another person or an object. Cultural connotations of kissing vary widely. Depending on the culture and context, a kiss can express sentiments of love, passion, romance, sexual attraction, sexual activity, sexual arousal, affection, respect, greeting, friendship, peace and good luck, among many others. In some situations a kiss is a ritual, formal or symbolic gesture indicating devotion, respect, or sacrament. The word came from Old English cyssan (“to kiss”), in turn from coss (“a kiss”).

Anthropologists are divided into two schools on the origins of kissing, one believing that it is instinctual and intuitive and the other that it evolved from what is known askiss feeding, a process used by mothers to feed their infants by passing chewed food to their babies' mouths. Cesare Lombroso, Italian criminologist, physician and founder of the Italian School of Positivist Criminology, supported this idea.

The earliest reference to kissing-like behavior comes from the Vedas, Sanskrit scriptures that informed Hinduism, Buddhism and the Jain religion, around 3,500 years ago, according to Vaughn Bryant, an anthropologist at Texas A&M University who specializes in the history of the kiss.

During the later Classical period, affectionate mouth-to-mouth kissing was first described in the Hindu epic, the “Mahabharata”.

Academics who have studied it say kissing spread slowly to other parts of the world after Alexander the Great and his army conquered parts of Punjab in northern India in 326 B.C.

According to Bryant, the origin of the word 'kiss' itself originated in ancient India, where “busa” or “bosa” were used to refer to kissing and from these early words, the Latin term for kiss ”basium” and the Old English words “ba” and “buss” are derived. Meanwhile, the root of the English word we use today – “kiss” – stems from “kus” which was used in northern India.

National Banana Lovers Day


Many of you might have enjoyed a banana for breakfast – or are probably thinking of doing so for lunch or dinner –, yet odds are few are aware of the fact that the 27th of August marks the celebration of the official Banana Lovers Day.

Seeing how green-oriented behaviors are more often than not linked to considerable considerations given to a well-balanced diet, in which fruits and vegetables take center stage, perhaps it would perhaps not be such a waste to take some time in order to talk about how bananas impact on our lives. 

Besides the fact that countless jokes and even songs revolve around these fruits, rumor has it that about 100 billion bananas are eaten all around the world on a yearly basis. 

Most of them come from India and Brazil, which apparently are world leaders when it comes to growing bananas. 

Interestingly enough, it seems that Americans have an especially fruity-tooth when it comes to bananas, something easily proven by the fact that they consume about 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) of these fruit annually. 

In case you were wondering, this makes bananas the most appreciated fruit in this country. 

The Examiner informs us that bananas are one of the healthiest natural choices presently available in supermarkets. This is because they contain high amounts of fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, B6 and manganese, not to mention the fact that they help keep various health conditions well under control. 

One thing you may not know about bananas is that they do not in fact grow on trees. Quite the contrary: the plant that “fathers” them is a herbaceous plant of the same family with lilies, orchids and palms. 

As well as this, some regions in Eastern Africa use this fruit as a main ingredient for producing beer. Some people argue that banana beer is pretty much your run-off-the-mill alcoholic beverage, only that it is sometimes used in rituals and ceremonies.

National Petroleum Day


August 27 is National Petroleum Day, also referred to as Oil and Gas Industry Appreciation Day. This annual event raises awareness about the impact petroleum has on our lives and our environment.

Petroleum, a fossil fuel, takes millions of years to form and is considered a non-renewable energy source. While petroleum is used in many products including gasoline, asphalt, tires, candles, perfume and plastics, its supply is limited. Some predict this natural resource will be completely depleted in a few decades.

According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), America is the largest consumer of petroleum products. In 2011, Americans consumed over 18 million barrels of petroleum products per day. While Canada, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria and Mexico are top sources of net crude oil and petroleum product imports, crude oil is also produced in 31 states and U.S. coastal waters. But it is difficult to determine where the petroleum products we use actually come from once they are refined.

Alternative Energy - As the cost of gasoline continues to go up, our reliance on oil has many Americans taking a serious look at alternative energy. Because of improvements in efficiency, consumer behavior and our current economic conditions, American's dependence on oil has actually declined over the years while our use of domestic biofuels and domestic production of natural gas plant liquids and crude oil has increased.

While petroleum is a substance used in a wide variety of products, this nonrenewable resource poses significant environmental issues including pollution, contaminated soil and oil spills. Decreasing society’s reliance on petroleum and increasing our use of renewable resources, is an affordable and environmentally-friendly alternative to reduce our dependency on our dwindling supply of fossil fuels.

National Pots de Crème Day


Ready for your French lesson? August 27 is National Pot de Crème Day!

Let’s start with pronunciation. Try saying it like this: Poh-deh-krem.

A definition would probably help too. Pot de crème translates to "pot of cream." It’s a very creamy dessert that’s essentially an egg heavy, loose custard that’s baked in a cup. That’s where the pots - or ramekins - come in. They’re typically small, and were originally made from porcelain. Some even came with cute little lids and tiny spoons.

The secret to a good pot de crème is in the method. In most recipes you’ll see this kind of egg to liquid ratio: one whole egg to every five egg yolks for every 2 1/2 to 3 cups of liquid. The custard is made by heating milk or heavy cream with flavoring. Typically pots de crème are vanilla, though chocolate is very popular too.

The eggs are whisked separately until very smooth and voluminous. The hot liquid mixture is then tempered into the egg mixture so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs. After that, the whole thing needs to be strained through a sieve.

Once the base mixture is done, it’s poured into three-ounce ramekins or little pots which are then placed in a larger baking dish. Add hot water to the baking dish until it reaches halfway up the sides of the pots. This is called a water bath and prevents the eggs from getting rubbery. Also, it helps if the baking dish is covered so a skin doesn't form on top of the custard.

While this might not sound like the easiest dessert to whip up on a whim, it sure does satisfy. The custard is creamy and velvety, and well worth the effort.

Tug-of-War Day


Tug-of-war is a competitive sport that takes place around the world and has a long and ancient history. Two teams hold each end of a large rope and attempt to pull the other towards them in order to win. Contests often take place over bodies of water or muddy areas so that the losing team suffers the indignity of falling in, which is preferable to the Viking version of tug-of-war when teams competed over a pit of fire. The number of people taking part can vary from just a few to a large crowd, with the world record for a single tug-of-war standing at 1,574 participants. It is not surprising that such a popular event has its own annual day; Tug-of-War Day. Cries of ‘heave’ are heard around the world on a day when numerous matches take place, giving a chance to take part or cheer on this timeless team game.

Tug-of-War History - Also known as tug o' war, tug war, rope war, rope pulling, or tugging war, tug-of-war is a sport that directly pits two teams against each other in a test of strength.

The sport of tug-of-war has a very long history. Artwork in a 4000-year-old tomb in Sakkara, Egypt depicts teams of 3 young men pitted against each other in the ropeless version of tug-of-war.

This practice, with or without the rope was carried over into many civilizations, often under ritual forms, such as Burma(Myanmar), Congo, Korea, India, Indonesia, Hawaii, New Guinea and New Zealand.

In Korea local villages used tug of war to settle disputes for centuries. Each village or township made a straw rope of a prescribed thickness and length. On the day of the contest, the team representatives, sometimes numbering as many as a hundred, brought the rope to the chosen site.

All of the ropes were then connected and the tug of war began. One side of the rope was considered female and the other side male. It was hoped that the female side won as it was symbolic of a good harvest. As a side note, tug of war is depicted on one of the few commemorative coins, the 5,000 won, minted for the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

Tug of war in ancient Greece was practiced both as a competition and as a physical exercise in order to train for other sports. At the courts of the Chinese emperors, around 1200 A.D., teams specifically trained for tug of war competed against each other in tournaments. The Chinese used a Main rope
and many side ropes. In the 13th and 14th centuries the Sport was widespread across Asia. Records exist in Mongolia and Turkey. In medieval Europe, Viking warriors pulled animal skins over open pits of fire, a test of strength and endurance that prepared them for battle. In India, tug-of-war is depicted on a relief found on the Sun Temple of Konark, which was built in the 12th Centruy A.D. detail of relief appears below.

In the 15th century, tug of war tournaments were frequently held in Scandanavia and later in the remainder of Western Europe.

The modern version of tug-of-war may have descended from sailors on British naval ships, and later those on trading ships traveling to and from India with perishables such as tea. The men on early naval ships maneuvered the ships by pulling on ropes that adjusted the ship’s sails. The sailors on the fast trading ship, the Cutty Sark, were observed in 1889, while docked in Sydney Harbor, Australia, by a young army officer who on a troop ship on his way to India. He watched the sailors pulling a form of tug of war on deck while there ship was becalmed. The boson explained that it was a way of keeping the crews fit, and from the rivalry and great pleasure that the men got from it, he decided to put his men to it, to keep them fit on the long sea journey from England to India.

In India the army put it on the grass, and it quickly became a source of great rivalry between regiments. It became the favorite sport of the other ranks, who brought it back to England. On leaving the army they took it with them into the police forces and the Fire brigades, and into the factories. Soon it spread across the whole country, displacing anything that had been before.

The name Tug-O-War may come from those crews that hauled on the ropes to power the Man-O-War Ships. Tug of war became an organized sport at the end of the 19th century when clubs were formed.

When the Olympic Games were revived, tug-of-war was featured on the program of the Paris Olympic Games in 1900. International rules became necessary. They still exist today having undergone very slight modifications. Tug-of-war was always contested as a part of the track and field athletics program, although it is now considered a separate sport. The Olympic champions were as follows: 1900: a combined Swedish/Danish team; 1904: an American club team representing the Milwaukee Athletic Club; 1906: Germany/Switzerland; 1908: a British team from the City of London Police Club; 1912: Sweden; and 1920: Great Britain.

After the 1920 Games, the International Olympic Committee trimmed the competition program and tug of war's participation was cancelled. As tug-of-war was no longer on the Olympic Program, national athletic and gymnastic associations were not very interested in tug of war as a discipline. The tug-of-war teams, at that time, felt that they had to establish their own autonomous association. The first association was founded in Sweden in 1933. Other countries followed including Great Britain in 1958 and the Netherlands in 1959.

The Tug-of-War International Federation (TWIF) was formed in 1960 to govern the sport on an international level, under the stewardship of George Hutton of the Great Britain Association and Rudolf Ullmark of Sweden. The First TWIF Meeting was in Sweden in 1964. The first modern International Event was at the Baltic games in 1964. TWIF organized its first European Championships in London at Crystal Palace in 1965. After non-European countries had also joined the international federation, TWIF held its first World Championships in 1975 in the Netherlands. The female competition was first organized at the World Championships in 1986.

The sport of Tug of War has been included in World Games from the first event in Santa Clara, U.S.A. in 1981.The World Games includes sports which are not included in the Olympic Program.

History of USATOWA The United States Amateur Tug of War Association (USATOWA) was formed in 1978. Its members are located primarily in the upper Midwest. The USATOWA sent its first team to compete in the World Championships in 1978.