Saturday, August 29, 2015

Holidays and Observances for August 29 2015

"According to Hoyle" Day


"According to Hoyle" Day is a day to honor Edmond Hoyle. In 1741 he instructed people how to play the game of whist, a 18th and 19th century card game. Needing a standard set of rules for the game he wrote A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist. He was encouraged to publish it since it was so well received by his students. He published several versions of the book adding rules for other games such as chess and backgammon. The phrase "according to Hoyle" was used to describe the correct rules or procedures in any activity or game.

Edmond Hoyle (1672 – 29 August 1769) was a writer best known for his works on the rules and play of card games. The phrase "according to Hoyle" came into the language as a reflection of his generally perceived authority on the subject; since that time, use of the phrase has expanded into general use in situations in which a speaker wishes to indicate an appeal to a putative authority.

Chop Suey Day


Pass the chopsticks - August 29 is National Chop Suey Day!

Chop suey is one of those dishes with a history that needs to be taken with a grain of salt. While most have settled on the version that ties its origin to Toisan, a region in China from where many immigrants to American came from, there are some more colorful options.

Chop suey is widely believed to have been invented in America by Chinese Americans, but the anthropologist E.N. Anderson concludes that the dish is based on tsap seui (“miscellaneous leftovers”), common in Taishan (Toisan), a county in Guangdong Province (Canton), the home of many early Chinese immigrants to the U.S. This "became the infamous ‘chop suey’ of third-string Chinese restaurants in the western world, but it began life as a good if humble dish among the specialist vegetable farmers of the area. At the end of the day, they would stir-fry the small shoots, thinnings, and unsold vegetables—up to ten species in a dish!" The Hong Kong doctor Li Shu-fan likewise reported that he knew it in Toisan in the 1890s.

The long list of colorful and conflicting stories about the origin of chop suey is, in the words of the food historian Alan Davidson, “a prime example of culinary mythology” and typical of popular foods.

One account claims that it was invented by Chinese American cooks working on the transcontinental railroad in the 19th century. Another tale is that it was created during Qing Dynasty premier Li Hongzhang's visit to the United States in 1896 by his chef, who tried to create a meal suitable for both Chinese and American palates. Another story is that Li wandered to a local Chinese restaurant after the hotel kitchen had closed, where the chef, embarrassed that he had nothing ready to offer, came up with the new dish using scraps of leftovers. Yet recent research by the scholar Renqui Yu led him to conclude that "no evidence can be found in available historical records to support the story that Li Hung Chang ate chop suey in the United States." Li brought three Chinese chefs with him, and would not have needed to eat in local restaurants or invent new dishes in any case. Yu speculates that shrewd Chinese American restaurant owners took advantage of the publicity surrounding his visit to promote chop suey as Li's favorite.

Yet another myth is that, in the 1860s, a Chinese restaurant cook in San Francisco was forced to serve something to drunken miners after hours, when he had no fresh food. To avoid a beating, the cook threw leftovers in a wok and served the miners who loved it and asked what dish is this—he replied Chopped Sui. There is no good evidence for any of these stories.

Chop suey appears in an 1884 article in the Brooklyn Eagle, by Wong Chin Foo, "Chinese Cooking," which he says "may justly be called the "national dish of China."  An 1888 description calls it "A staple dish for the Chinese gourmand is chow chop svey, a mixture of chickens' livers and gizzards, fungi, bamboo buds, pigs' tripe, and bean sprouts stewed with spices."In 1898, it is described as "A Hash of Pork, with Celery, Onions, Bean Sprouts, etc."

During his travels in the United States, Liang Qichao, a Guangdong (Canton) native, wrote in 1903 that there existed in the United States a food item called chop suey which was popularly served by Chinese restaurateurs, but which local Chinese people did not eat.

In earlier periods of Chinese history, "chop suey" or "shap sui" in Cantonese, and "za sui", in Mandarin, has the different meaning of cooked animal offal or entrails. For example, in the classic novel Journey to the West (circa 1590), Sun Wukong tells a lion-monster in chapter 75: "When I passed through Guangzhou, I bought a pot for cooking za sui – so I'll savour your liver, entrails, and lungs." This may be the same as the "Chop Suey Kiang" found in 1898 New York. The term "za sui" is found in newer Chinese-English dictionaries with both meanings listed: cooked entrails, and chop suey in the Western sense.
Regardless of the origin, the simple dish can now be found in most Chinese restaurants.

"Most Americans know it's not real Chinese food. A handful of them don't care," writes Jennifer 8. Lee in her book The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food. "Yet it still endures."

Chop suey primarily consists of stir-fried vegetables, meat and eggs with a starchy sauce served over rice or noodles. Translated, chop suey means "mixed bits."

The dish is relatively easy to put together, and can be altered for dietary and taste preferences. So, how will you take yours?

Franchise Appreciation Day


What is Franchise Appreciation Day? Franchise Appreciation Day is an initiative to help create an awareness to increase customers knowledge of the importance of using social media networks and location-based services to connect with, and continue to support local franchises. It's also a day to celebrate franchises and allow you the consumer to enjoy a day in support of your favorite franchises by receiving Discounts and Giveaways.

When is Franchise Appreciation Day? The last Saturday in August [Labor Day Weekend]. We encourage everyone to support local franchises daily.

Who can participate? Anyone. We encourage everyone to support local franchises.

Why should I get involve? To help with building and strengthening the relationships between consumers and franchisees using mobile applications and social media to connect with their local consumers. This would drive more traffic and in-turn would create more revenue for that franchisee to hire more people in your community, and do more community involvement activities.

What is a Franchise? A franchise is a right granted to an individual or group to market a company's goods or services within a certain territory or location. Some examples of today's popular franchises are McDonald's, Subway, Domino's Pizza, Golden Krust Bakery and the UPS Store.

There are many different types of franchises. There are over 120 different types of franchise businesses available today, including automotive, cleaning & maintenance, health & fitness, financial services, and pet-related franchises, just to name a few.

Who are Franchisees? A franchisee is an individual who purchases the rights to use a company's trademarked name and business model to do business. The franchisee purchases a franchise from the franchisor. The franchisee must follow certain rules and guidelines already established by the franchisor, and in most cases the franchisee must pay an ongoing franchise royalty fee to the franchisor.

What are the Franchises Facts?

  • The number of jobs filled within and because of franchised businesses (17,430,700)
  • The number of franchise establishments (over 828,138)
  • Direct and indirect economic impact of franchised businesses; ($2.1 trillion)
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of franchised businesses ($1.2 trillion)
  • Franchised businesses account for nearly 50% of all retail sales in the United States.
  • Franchised businesses supplied an annual payroll of $304.4 billion, or 4.2 percent of all private non-farm payrolls in the United States in 2007!
What is Sociallybuzz? Sociallybuzz is a social media management, marketing and advertising company, working with businesses and franchises to help them understand the importance of having a local social web presence and the values of having a great relationship with their consumers.

Individual Rights Day


Individual Rights Day is celebrated on August 29th, the birth date of John Locke, the philosopher who first prominently argued that a human being has a basic property right based upon his status as a sovereign human being and that it is the government's role to protect that right and not to treat its citizens as slaves.

Individual Rights Day was started by Dr. Tom Stevens, the founder of the Objectivist Party. It was created so people can contemplate the importance of this concept to man's right to life and to use reason to ensure his own survival.

John Locke stated in "The Second Treatise On Civil Government" - "Every man has a property in his own person this no body has any right to but himself. The labor of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say are properly his...The great and chief end therefore, of Mens uniting into Commonwealths, and putting themselves under Government, is the Preservation of their Property."

John Locke quotations on "Individual Rights":

“Reason...teaches all Mankind, who would but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his Life, Health, Liberty, or Possessions.”

"Government can never have a Power to take to themselves the whole or any part of the Subjects Property, without their own consent."

“’Tis a Mistake to think this Fault [tyranny] is proper only to Monarchies; other Forms of Government are liable to it, as well as that. For where-ever the Power that is put in any hands for the Government of the People, and the Preservation of their Properties, is applied to other ends, and made use of to impoverish, harass, or subdue them to the Arbitrary and Irregular Commands of those that have it: There it presently becomes Tyranny, whether those that thus use it are one or many.”

"Whenever the Legislators endeavor to take away, and destroy the Property of the People, or to reduce them to Slavery under Arbitrary Power, they put themselves into a state of War with the People, who are thereupon absolved from any farther Obedience, and are left to the common Refuge...against Force and Violence. Whensoever therefore the Legislative shall transgress this fundamental Rule of Society; and either by Ambition, Fear, Folly or Corruption, endeavor to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other an Absolute Power over the Lives, Liberties, and Estates of the People; By this breach of Trust they forfeit the Power, the People had put into their hands, for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the People, who have a Right to resume their original Liberty.”

Ayn Rand quotations on "Individual Rights":

"A 'right' is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)...Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights."

"The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave."

“Man holds these rights, not from the Collective nor for the Collective, but against the Collective—as a barrier which the Collective cannot cross...these rights are man’s protection against all other men."

“The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A—and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational. Any group, any gang, any nation that attempts to negate man’s rights, is wrong, which means: is evil, which means: is anti-life."

"Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual)."

"The concept of individual rights is so prodigious a feat of political thinking that few men grasp it fully—and two hundred years have not been enough for other countries to understand it. But this is the concept to which we owe our lives—the concept which made it possible for us to bring into reality everything of value that any of us did or will achieve or experience."

International Bat Night


International Bat Night - Bats live in a forest near where I live and I'll sometimes see them flapping past the window.  It's pretty cool!

EUROBATS is back to organize the seventeenth International Bat Night as darkness falls between the 29th and 31st of August.

Over 30 countries celebrate bats on International Bat Night - from Belgium and Sweden to the UK!   In Worcestershire, you'll be taken a walk in the dark to learn about our 'enigmatic' friends.

Why don't you organize your own International Bat Night event?   To receive posters to promote the event, email EUROBATS at: eurobats@eurobats.org.

It's well know that bats can be seen as a bit scary!   This probably comes from the fact a lot of vampire movies have made bats out to be blood-sucking and terrifying!

And while it's true that they do drink insects' blood they don't come near ours!  Yet the scare stories are endangering our flying friends.   If bats were to become extinct we'd be in big trouble - there would be insects everywhere!

Although bats have been used for good symbolism too.  Take Batman for instance!  The superhero that protects the city of Gotham in movies like The Dark Knight.

But how much do you know about real bats?   Did you know that they pollinate lots of plants?  Like bees, bats are essential pollinators for the growth of our natural world.   In fact there are nectar-feeding bats!   They help disperse seeds - and are really good for the economy too!

The bat conservation international organisation knows just how important it is to help our bats.  And recognize how special they are too!   Did you know that some males sing when trying to attract a female?  Or that vampire bats adopt orphans?  Unusual for any animal, never mind a supposedly scary bat!

I had heard of a few bat species, for example, the Common pipistrelle, Daubenton's bat and the Greater horseshoe bat, but I didn't realize that in the UK we have 18 species of bats - wow!   There's lots of information about bat species in the UK at the Bat Conservation Trust website, and what's more you can even listen to them as well!

If you are planning a bat event why not post the details on the events page so that everyone knows what you are doing.

International Day Against Nuclear Tests


The United Nations’ (UN) International Day against Nuclear Tests brings public awareness and education about the effects of global nuclear weapon tests. The day aims to end nuclear testing and to promote peace and security.

The International Day against Nuclear Tests aims to raise people’s awareness on the need to prevent nuclear catastrophes to avert devastating effects on humankind, the environment and the planet. Many people use the day as an opportunity to share their perspective on the issue of nuclear weapons and testing.  Different organizations may host educational and public activities to bring awareness of the use of nuclear weapons and the dangers involved with nuclear weapons testing and usage.

The history of nuclear testing began on July 16, 1945, when an atomic bomb was used at a desert test site in Alamogordo, New Mexico, in the United States. More than 2000 nuclear tests were carried out worldwide between 1945 and 1996. Nuclear weapons tests are generally broken into different categories reflecting the test’s medium or location:
  • Atmospheric tests.
  • Underwater tests.
  • Underground tests.
Over the years, there have been calls to ban nuclear test to ensure the protection of people’s lives and the environment around them. The UN approved a draft resolution in late 2009 for an international day against nuclear tests to raise public awareness about the threats and dangers of nuclear weapons.  It was also hoped that UN’s member states would move towards the idea of nuclear disarmament.

The International Day against Nuclear Tests was declared to be annually held on August 29, which marks the closing of one of the world’s largest nuclear test sites (in Kazakhstan) in 1991. The day is devoted to enhancing public awareness and education about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions. It also promotes the need for a nuclear weapon-free world. The day’s first official observance was marked for August 29, 2010.

Lemon Juice Day


According to a website that charts national day, here's a day to celebrate. August 29 is National Lemon Juice Day.

Lemon juice and its uses
The juice of the lemon is about 5% to 6% citric acid, which gives lemons a sour taste. The distinctive sour taste of lemon juice makes it a key ingredient in drinks and foods such as lemonade.

Almost all foods taste even better with a little lemon juice squeezed on top of it. Such foods include fish, chicken, and gravy. Of course, almost everyone knows lemon juice is good in iced tea. It is even good in just plain water.

Unlike salt, butter, or other seasonings that can make good foods bad for you, lemon juice won't do you any harm. In fact, it might even help you lose weight.

A lot of people have lemon juice in a hot cup of water as soon as they get out of bed in the morning. The benefits of the lemon juice last throughout the day.

10 Reasons Lemon Juice Is Good For You
Saying that lemons are a superfood is an understatement. Not only do they add abundant flavor to a variety of dishes, but they also boast a ton of health benefits. The flavonoids within the juice are said to contain antioxidants, which is why lemons are useful in treating so many ailments and conditions. Here are 10 reasons to enjoy them ASAP.
  1. Prevent kidney stones: Drinking one half-cup of lemon juice every day raises citrate levels in the urine. Studies have shown that this could protect against calcium stones in the kidney.
  2. Soothe a sore throat: Mixing lemon juice with honey can help alleviate the discomfort that comes from a nasty sore throat.
  3. Support weight loss: Beyond the old notion that the Master Cleanse was the only way lemons could help you lose weight, new studies have shown the ways lemon juice supports your goals. Lemon juice contains pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to aid in weight-loss struggles.
  4. Start your day right: Leave caffeinated drinks behind, and start your day off with hot water and fresh lemon juice to stimulate your digestive track and add vitamin C.
  5. Stop an itch: When it comes to poison ivy or insect bites, rubbing lemon juice on the area can soothe the skin, since it has anti-inflammatory and anesthetic effects.
  6. Aids in digestion: Dr. Oz is a big believer in the power of lemon juice for weight loss. He suggests drinking a mixture of lemon juice and flaxseeds in order to eliminate waste more quickly from your body.
  7. Anticancer properties: Studies have supported the anticancer activity of citrus liminoids, compounds that protect your cells from damage that can lead to the formation of cancer cells.
  8. Potassium power: Bananas aren't the only way to get a big helping of potassium in your system. In addition to vitamin C, lemons offer 80 milligrams of this mineral that helps your body stay strong and nimble.
  9. Bring down a fever: Forget the days of starving a fever! When your temperature goes up, drinking a lemon juice mixture can help bring your fever down faster.
  10. Balance pH: While lemons may seem quite acidic, they're a surprisingly good source of an alkaline food that can help balance your body's pH.
More Herbs, Less Salt Day


More Herbs, Less Salt Day takes place on 29th August each year.  The aim of More Herbs, Less Salt Day is to promote the use of healthy herbs as seasoning instead of salt.

Late in the month of August is actually a very good time for a day such as More Herbs, Less Salt Day, for the simple reason that this is a time when the harvesting of herbs from the garden is reaching its annual peak.  After all, there are few things in this world that are better than being able to garnish your all-time favorite recipes with fresh garden herbs.

More Herbs, Less Salt Day was the brainchild of Wellcat.com, which has actually created and copyrighted a whole range of other special days throughout the yearly calendar as well.  Perhaps oddly, Wellcat.com has not given much in the way of information about the day, other than to take note of the fact that herbs are much better for your overall health than is the case with salt, which is certainly true enough.

Of course, perhaps Wellcat.com simply did not see the need to give too much other information about More Herbs, Less Salt Day given that it more or less effectively speaks for itself.  All you need to take part in More Herbs, Less Salt Day are some herbs, a fun and tasty recipe, a desire for a healthier diet, and perhaps just a dash of imagination as well.

National Sarcoidosis Awareness Day


Sarcoidosis, a disease that affects many of our fellow citizens and people around the world, remains shrouded in mystery. Skin-related symptoms of this chronic, multi-system disease were first recognized more than 100 years ago; however, the effects of Sarcoidosis on other bodily organs were not observed until the first quarter of this century. Today researchers are still trying to learn more about the cause and the nature of this affliction.

Sarcoidosis can strike people of all races and of all ages, but, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, it is most common among black Americans who are between the ages of 20 and 40. While no cause has yet been identified, it is thought that heredity predisposes some individuals to the disease. Intensive research during the past decade has not only supported this belief but also enabled physicians to diagnose and to manage Sarcoidosis more effectively.

Today researchers at both the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute are leading studies on the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of Sarcoidosis. On this occasion, we recognize their work and that of other concerned physicians and scientists throughout the United States. We also salute the victims of Sarcoidosis who demonstrate great courage and determination in their efforts to cope with the disease; and we pay tribute to their family members and to other concerned Americans who are engaged in grass-roots efforts to promote awareness of Sarcoidosis, as well as improved treatment and support for its victims.

To focus national attention on Sarcoidosis, the Congress, by House Joint Resolution 309, has designated August 29, 1991, as "National Sarcoidosis Awareness Day" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this day.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim August 29, 1991, as National Sarcoidosis Awareness Day. I invite all Americans to join in observing this day with appropriate programs and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of August, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.

National Swiss Winegrowers Day


It's National Swiss Winegrowers Day! 

France, Germany, Italy – all great wine growing countries. Right in the middle sits Switzerland. Logically, it should also be a prominent wine producer. But as you probably know from wandering up and down the aisles of your local liquor store, there isn’t ever a sign between “Italy” and “France” where you’ll find the Swiss wines tucked away.

The numbers pretty much tell the story: Swiss wine production in 2009 was just over 1.1 million hectoliters, compared to:
  • 7 million hectolitres in Canada
  • 9 million hectoliters in Germany
  • 50 and 60 million hectolitres in each of France and Italy
Nearly all the national production is drunk within the national boundaries; less than 2% of Swiss wine is exported. So consider a glass of Swiss wine a treat, outside of Switzerland – it’s likely 0.00001% of the wine shipped around the world today*.

There was only one bottle of Swiss wine in Victoria’s largest liquor store: “Swisswine” (not a very catchy name!) – of the Chasselas varietal. Chasselas is mostly vinified to be a full, dry and fruity white wine. The internet tells me it is considered an ideal pairing for Raclette or Fondue, and I would agree with that– this bottle was fresh, fruity with a bit of a mineral tang. For $25 it is a nice bottle, but not in my opinion a GREAT bottle.

If you’re interested in learning more about Swiss wines, you’re in for a bit of a struggle (unless you are more bilingual than I!). As one website puts it: “Wine information is easy to find. Swiss wine information is somewhat more elusive, and Swiss wine information in English is rare.” However, I did come across this walking tour along one of Switzerland’s premier wine routes, where the tour group is accompanied by three St. Bernards! That’s gotta be fun and educational, right?

So here’s to the Swiss Vintner’s – Long may your grapes produce!

Happy National Swiss Winegrowers Day!