Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Holidays and Observances for August 5 2015

Green Peppers Day

Green Peppers Day is always on August 5. Green Peppers Day celebrates these versatile fruits. Usually referred as a vegetable, green peppers are technically a fruit. Green peppers are often referred to as sweet peppers and are very high in vitamin C, are an excellent source of carotenoids, and are also a very good source of fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Manganese. refer to peppers as "the Christmas ornaments of the vegetable world with their beautifully shaped glossy exterior that comes in a wide array of vivid colors ranging from green, red, yellow, orange, purple, brown to black." Green peppers can be eaten raw or cooked.

Ways to eat green peppers include: sauteed with Italian sausage or in a pasta, stuffed, on pizza, raw with a veggie dip, hummus, or on a sub sandwich, in a salad, pepper steak, or in a stir fry.

Peppers are eaten all the time; there's no denying that, right? And sure, they come in many different colors. But the wide variety of green peppers out there is immense and so is the number of people that enjoy munching on them. They add a little flavor to your meals and they can even add some crunch but they always seem to please the pepper eaters. And when pepper eaters unite, out pops a holiday and today is the day to pay tribute (and eat) this wonderful peppers. You were going to anyway, weren't you?  The first green pepper that pops into my mind is a bell pepper AKA a sweet pepper. It's not too spicy at all, in fact it's a bit watery. And China produces these peppers like crazy. But what's another commonly green pepper you can think of? A jalapeno, perhaps? Yes, they do turn red when they are ripened but they are usually served green and they still have quite a bit of spice to them! They may not be the hottest peppers out there (in fact, they are considered to be of a "medium" heat) but they will definitely raise your body temperature when you eat one!  And, as I'm looking for other green peppers, I'm starting to realize why this might be a holiday. You see, most peppers may start out green but are usually served up when they're ripe, and another color. So perhaps today is to celebrate the few peppers that are actually supposed to be enjoyed when they are green. You can eat peppers of all different magical colors on other days, but today you should focus on the green ones.   Ripe or not... bite them!

So, how can you celebrate today?  Well, get your butt over to the grocery store or the farmer's market of course! Grab up as many green peppers as you can and start munching them down. Bell peppers are great sliced up and dipped into ranch dip and if you're bold you can bite right into a jalapeno. In fact, why don't you see who can eat one the fastest. Or who can eat one without making a face... I'd like to meet that person! You'd have to have quite a tolerance for that.  But you can also start looking up different recipes that call for green peppers. You could make something like stuffed peppers, which is always a good choice. You can toss some in your salad or in a sauce too. There are a TON of different recipes that call for green peppers. I mean how many recipes have you seen with green chilies in them? Mhmm, I thought so!  But today doesn't have to be all about eating green peppers. In fact, why don't you start growing some? It might not be the best idea to start them outside, unless the plants are already pretty far along, so get yourself some nice indoor pots. You can start them from seeds or from seedlings but just make sure to read up on how to care for them, give them lots of light and give them water when they need it. Some peppers need very little water because they're use to growing in the desert.  Enjoy your day and pep things up a bit!

International Traffic Light Day

Have you ever thought about the simple things of everyday life, their history and origin? It’s interesting that when something is so ingrained a part of your life and has been around, we rarely think of it as something that had to be created. Traffic lights, for example. You see it every day; you use it every part of the day, but have you ever wondered why are traffic lights Red, Yellow and Green? Who and when invented the first traffic system? Well, if it is so, you are on the right way. Today is the International Day of the traffic light and you have a very good bet to learn about all these things.

The International Day of the traffic light is celebrated on August 5th. The date was not accidentally chosen. The world’s first electric traffic signal is put into place on the corner of Euclid Avenue and East 105th Street in Cleveland, Ohio, on this day in 1914.

In the earliest days of the automobile, navigating America’s roads was a chaotic experience, with pedestrians, bicycles, horses and streetcars all competing with motor vehicles for right of way. The problem was alleviated somewhat with the gradual disappearance of horse-drawn carriages, but even before World War I it had become clear that a system of regulations was necessary to keep traffic moving and reduce the number of accidents on the roads. As Christopher Finch writes in his “Highways to Heaven: The AUTO Biography of America” (1992), the first traffic island was put into use in San Francisco, California in 1907; left-hand drive became standard in American cars in 1908; the first center painted dividing line appeared in 1911, in Michigan; and the first “No Left Turn” sign would debut in Buffalo, New York, in 1916.

Various competing claims exist as to who was responsible for the world’s first traffic signal. A device installed in London in 1868 featured two semaphore arms that extended horizontally to signal “stop” and at a 45-degree angle to signal “caution.” In 1912, a Salt Lake City, Utah, police officer named Lester Wire mounted a handmade wooden box with colored red and green lights on a pole, with the wires attached to overhead trolley and light wires. Most prominently, the inventor Garrett Morgan has been given credit for having invented the traffic signal based on his T-shaped design, patented in 1923 and later reportedly sold to General Electric.

Despite Morgan’s greater visibility, the system installed in Cleveland on August 5, 1914, is widely regarded as the first electric traffic signal. Based on a design by James Hoge, who received U.S. patent 1,251,666 for his “Municipal Traffic Control System” in 1918, it consisted of four pairs of red and green lights that served as stop-go indicators, each mounted on a corner post. Wired to a manually operated switch inside a control booth, the system was configured so that conflicting signals were impossible. According to an article in The Motorist, published by the Cleveland Automobile Club in August 1914: “This system is, perhaps, destined to revolutionize the handling of traffic in congested city streets and should be seriously considered by traffic committees for general adoption.”

National Oyster Day

National Oyster Day is an unofficial food holiday. It is celebrated annually in the United States on August 5. Oysters are shellfish, also known as mollusks. They may be found in fresh or salt water. Most people consider oysters a delicacy. Oysters can be prepared in a variety of ways, including raw on the half shell, steamed, fried, stewed and smoked.Oysters can be served as an appetizer or as a main entree.

Oysters sift food from around them in the water. Occasionally during this process, they will get a grain of sand or grit stuck in their shell. A substance called "nacre" will develop around the sand. Eventually, that nacre is what becomes a pearl. Seattle, Washington is known as the "Oyster Capital of the World" due to the number of cultivated pearls produced there.

While the history of National Oyster Day is unclear, oysters have been a part of the human diet for centuries. In fact, there is evidence that oysters were consumed as far back as the Neolithic period, which in Ancient Greece ran from 6000 to 2900 BC. The Romans would send thousands of slaves to the shores of the English Channel to gather oysters.

Oysters are a part of Greek mythology. It is said that the goddess of love, Aphrodite, came out of the sea on an oyster shell and gave birth to Eros. This is where the term "aphrodisiac" comes from and why people associate oysters with sexual prowess.

National Oyster Day can be celebrated by enjoying any of the dozens of recipes that are available for oysters. Oysters Rockefeller is one example. This recipe consists of vegetable mixture of spinach, green onions and celery is placed on each oyster that is on a plate of raw oysters on the half shell. Another example is Oysters Thomas, a dish consisting of oysters, crab meat and bearnaise sauce.

National Underwear Day

If you’re like many Americans, your mother warned you to always wear clean underwear in case you were “in an accident!” Although there are probably better reasons to wear fresh underwear, this is the one that most often comes to mind.

In an effort to publicly shine light on “unmentionables,” Freshpair founded National Underwear Day on August 5th, 2003. Over the last 10 years we've celebrated the holiday with New York City model events, massive underwear giveaways, a pop-up shop in Columbus Circle, and a Times Square runway show.

Early Underwear
The ancient Egyptians sometimes wore loincloths. The Romans also wore underwear. Both Roman men and women wore a loincloth or shorts called subligaculum. Women also wore a band of cloth or leather around their chest called a strophium.

During the Middle Ages men word linen shorts called braies but women did not wear knickers until the 19th century. Their only underwear was a long linen garment called a shift, which they wore under their dress. From the 16th century women wore corsets made with whalebone.

19th Century Underwear
In the 19th century underwear became much more elaborate.

Where does the word does the word pants come from? It is derived from a character in Italian comedy called Pantalone. He wore garments that came down to his ankles (when most men wore ones that came to the knee). In 18th century England they were called pantaloons. In the 19th century the word became shortened to pants. In Britain pants came to mean long drawers that covered the whole leg. The garments worn over them came became known as trousers.

The word drawers was invented because underwear was drawn on. Where does the word knickers come from? It comes from a novel called History of New York by Diedrich Knickerbocker, supposedly a Dutchman living in New York (it was actually written by Washington Irving). In Britain the illustrations for the book showed a Dutchman wearing long, loose fitting garments on his lower body. When men wore loose trousers for sport they were sometimes called knickerbockers. However women's underwear were soon called knickerbockers too. In the late 19th century the word was shortened to knickers. In the USA women's underwear are called panties, which is obviously a diminutive of pants.

At the beginning of the 1800's women still wore a long nightie-like garment under their dress but it was now called a chemise not a shift. However after about 1800 they also wore drawers. Sometimes they came to below the knee or sometimes they were longer garments with frills at the bottom called pantalettes. However by the 1830's only girls not women wore pantalettes.

Today we still say a pair of knickers or panties. That is because in the early 19th century women's underwear consisted to two separate legs joined at the waist. They really were a 'pair'.

At first women's drawers were usually very plain but in the late 19th century they were decorated with lace and bands. In the Winter women often wore woolen knickers and woolen vests.

In the 19th century women's underwear were sometimes called bloomers. Elizabeth Miller invented loose trousers to be worn by women. The idea was promoted by Amelia Bloomer from 1849 and they became known as bloomers. In time long underwear became known as bloomers.

By the late 19th century in Britain men's underwear were called pants. Men also wore vests. Some men wore combinations, pants and vest in one garment.

20th Century Underwear
In the 19th century women's underwear was usually open between the legs but in the 20th century closed knickers replaced them.

Meanwhile in 1913 Mary Phelps Jacob invented the modern bra. She used two handkerchiefs joined by ribbon.

In the 19th century knickers came down to the knee. In the 1920's they became shorter, down to the mid-calf. By the 1940's and 1950's many women wore briefs. Men's underwear also became shorter. The word drawers went out of use and they became known as underpants or pants. Y-fronts went on sale in the USA in 1935. They went on sale in Britain in 1938. Boxer shorts were introduced in the 1940's.

Work Like a Dog Day

Tuesday, August 5th is Work like a Dog Day. Work like a Dog Day honors and recognizes the hardest working people among us. The fact that the day is celebrated on August 5th suggests that we just might be working like a dog after returning to work after a glorious long weekend. Not to mention that businesses tend to be a little light on staff in August as it is the second most popular vacation month of the year. Everyone likes to get away on the hottest days of the year that are often called the ‘dog days’ of summer.

‘Every dog has his day’. August 5th will be when employers acknowledge and show their appreciation for all of those who carry more than their load. The people that work like a dog tend to display their inner grit and determination – characteristics often demonstrated by canines.
Workaholics vs. Work like a Dog
How do we distinguish Work like a Dog Day from the July 5th Workaholics Day? I believe that most people associate the label ‘Workaholic’s with those individuals who are addicted to their work. Workaholics may always be working but that does not necessarily mean they are working hard. Unfortunately the Workaholic personality can ‘give a dog a bad name’ and end up ‘in the dog house’ at home.

People that work like a dog are very different. They do not work non-stop; they work in a much more focused manner – preferring task and project oriented work. These people may dig in relentlessly and seldom take a break until they have completed their work. Like the Energizer Bunny, working dogs keep going and going until they have reached their goal. People that work like a dog have another common denominator - working hard gives both dogs and their human counterparts great pleasure.
Work like a Dog Idioms & Studies
There are plenty of dog idioms – ‘it’s a dog’s life’, ‘like a dog with a bone’, ‘can’t teach an old dog new tricks’, ‘the tail that is wagging the dog’, ‘throw (someone) to the dogs’, ‘sick as a dog’, etc. that all have a connection to dogs that work. Dogs have been man’s best friend for 30,000 years and now scientists believe they know why. There are similarities in how both the human and canine brain use emotional intelligence – both species have the ability to pick up on moods as well as accurately read body language.

A recent study published in the journal Current Biology found that canine’s share the ‘voice region’ that helps us tune in to emotions. They also use similar brain mechanisms to that of humans to process social information. In Hungary researchers captured both dogs’ and humans’ brain activities while they listened to 200 dog and human sounds. The study proved that canines’ brains are as sensitive to emotions and respond to voices in the same way that we do. This may account for why there are so many ‘working’ dogs today.
The Best in Show & Leader of the Pack Dogs

The book “From Wags to Riches: How Dogs Teach Us to Succeed in Business and Life,” written by Robert Vetere and co-authored by Valerie Andrews, observes canine-like qualities such as sharing responsibility across pack members and tuning into each other’s needs and emotions. Pack members observe facial expressions and body cues that dramatically improve their individual effectiveness and ability to lead.

The new role model for business leaders today has moved away from the corporate superstar to become the family dog. Research conducted on the relationships humans have with dogs provides an intriguing model for teamwork in the corporate world. Vetere describes the Portuguese Water Dog as highly intelligent, an energetic and determined guardian that builds consensus rather than attacks. He suggests these traits correspond very well with President Obama who owns two of these terrific canines.
What other breeds represent CEOs that Work like a Dog?
  • Golden Retriever – good-natured and people-oriented, these natural leaders excel in sales positions. Best of Breed: Former President Bill Clinton.
  • Terrier – these scrappy, independent thinkers eagerly take on bigger and stronger competitors. Best of Breed examples: Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
  • Border Collie – a natural CEO, this breed knows how to derive the best from others. These top dogs excel in helping companies and people adapt to change. Best of Breed: Media mogul Martha Stewart and Walmart founder Sam Walton.
  • Rottweiler -these top dogs value tradition and work hard to protect the company’s legacy. Best of Breed: Former Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy, and former Herman Miller furniture company CEO Michael Volkema, who said, “Leadership is about doing the right thing, not the easy thing.”
  • Bloodhound - these dogs sniff out ideas that transform the marketplace, moving far beyond traditional boundaries. Best of Breed: Virgin Group founder Richard Branson. Author Vetere says that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are great examples of other canine leaders, but they also display bloodhound traits
  • Poodle - these elegant but aloof leaders inspire others with their overarching vision. Best of Breed: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. 
  • Husky - Huskies are known for their stamina and perform well without much direction. They use independent thinking and dogged perseverance. Best of Breed: Steve Jobs of Apple.
Why not plan on having some fun with Work like a Dog Day next Tuesday?
How about a lunch hour game of ‘Putting on the Dog’? Start by having participants write their name on a slip of paper (identifying themselves as one of the hardest working dogs in your company). Next, fold and place all the slips in a bowl or box. Pull each name out, one at a time, and either call out the name or write it on your white board. Now the fun begins! Everyone participates by naming a breed and providing supporting thoughts on why that is the best partners for the ‘hard working dog’. Have some laughs because no one is allowed to be ‘meaner than a junkyard dog’.

Think about it – maybe it is a really good thing if your company ‘goes to the dogs’. Realistically we have to remember that sometimes you’re the ‘lucky dog’ and sometimes you’re the hydrant.
Is it time to ‘call off the dogs’?
George Allen, American football coach said “For a good life: Work like a dog. Eat like a horse. Think like a fox. And play like a rabbit.” And the infamous Charles M. Schulz, American cartoonist best known for the comic strip Peanuts said “All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For after all, he was only human. He wasn't a dog.”