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February 20, 2018

Today we celebrate:

Clean Out Your Bookcase Day - If you are like me, you love books and so you tend to collect them. Which is great except that your bookcase runs out of room. So this is the day to clean it out. Donate some books to your local library or a nursing home or bring them to a used book store to get some credit against some more books you can use to fill up your bookcase again.

Love Your Pet Day – Today is an easy day to celebrate. I think most of us already love our pets, but today give them a little extra. It doesn't matter if you have a dog or cat or fish or hermit crab or snake or elephant or even (shudder) a rat. Make sure they know how much you care about them today.

World Day For Social Justice – This is a new holiday established by the United Nations in 2007 and begun in 2009. Social justice is all about eliminating gender, age, culture, disability, race, religion and ethnic discrimination (along with any other kind of discrimination that I neglected to name). This is something that we can all work on in our own little worlds by teaching our children tolerance for others and then practicing ourselves what we just preached to our children.

National Day of Solidarity With Muslim, Arab and South Asian Immigrants - This day was created shortly after 9/11 when Muslims, Arabs and South Asians were frequently jailed without justification or legal representation because America was racially profiling in an effort to find any more terrorists in this country before they could strike again. While I understand why they felt the need for racial profiling, since they believed the majority of terrorists would be of those races they targeted, it is a practice that condemns a lot of innocent people. We need to stand together, not just as a country or a race, but as a world to fight against terrorism.

National Handcuff Day – On this day in 1912, a patent was issued to George A. Carney for a “swinging bow ratchet-type” adjustable handcuff. Before this invention, handcuffs were heavy and bulky and awkward to use. This new style was light and easy and always ready to be used in an instant. Handcuffs used today have had some minor modifications but they still use the same swing through design that Mr. Carney created. They are very efficient, but I have never heard anyone claim that they are comfortable for the wearer so I’m not planning on doing anything that might cause me to have to examine them in person.

National Cherry Pie Day – Grab a piece of cherry pie today and enjoy that sweet cherry filling surrounded by a flaky, tender, melt in your mouth crust.  

February 19, 2018

Today we celebrate:

Prevent Plagiarism Day - This is a day to focus on the problem of high tech cheating by taking someone else’s words/ideas and presenting them as your own. This day was created by Jace Shoemaker-Galloway after becoming the victim of plagiarism when her work was published without permission or attribution. This is an issue that can have pretty severe consequences if you are caught plagiarizing other people’s work. It can cause you to fail a class, experience intense public embarrassment, lose a job, or even lose an election.

International Tug-o-War Day - A simple, but fun sport. We used to play this on Field Day when I was in elementary school. Some cultures take it very seriously. Back in the day, this competition was used to solve community disputes, I guess the strongest or heaviest communities prevailed. It was even an Olympic sport before it was dropped from the Games in 1920. If you are not aware of how it is played, I will educate you. Take a group of people and divide them into two teams, one on each end of a long rope. Most people place the heaviest person at the end where they can wrap the rope around themselves and serve as an anchor. Then either have a mud pit or body of water in the middle of the field or tie a marker in the middle of the rope and paint a couple of lines on the field. When the signal is given, everyone pulls on the rope with all of their strength. Then whichever team pulls the rope so the marker crosses the line closest to them, or so that the opposing team falls in the mud or water, wins.

National Chocolate Mint Day – Chocolate and mint, my favorite combination of flavors. I'll have to find some Andes Candies, Peppermint Patties or Junior Mints to have today.

Iwo Jima Day – Begun on this day in 1945, the fighting at Iwo Jima lasted more than a month with very heavy casualties for the U.S. and for the Japanese because surrender for either side was not an option or even a vague possibility for consideration. Thousands of men died that day and in the month following. This invasion was the first time American's attacked Japanese home territory and the Japanese really had no chance against the superior forces (in terms of numbers of soldiers, firepower, and air power) that the American's brought to the island. But despite that, the battle lasted for five weeks because the Japanese were well entrenched in caves and tunnels and chock full of pure stubbornness.

Washington's Birthday – A United States Federal holiday that is celebrated on the third Monday of February, this is a day to honor our first President, George Washington. Some states have combined this day with Abraham Lincoln's birthday to make...

President's Day – A day to celebrate our past Presidents, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington in a combined celebration. Not all states combine the days like this so if you live in a state that has individual Lincoln and Washington days, please feel free to ignore this one.

February 18, 2018

Today we celebrate:

Daytona 500 – This is the biggest race of the year and has been since its creation in 1959. It's a race that pretty much takes all day and I, personally, cannot stand to see cars drive in circles for that long, but there are plenty of others who are avid supporters and could watch it if it was twice as long.

Crab-Stuffed Flounder Day - Now you all know I do my best to help you out when it comes to deciding what to eat for at least one of your meals every day. Well, here’s a great idea for lunch or dinner today.  

Thumb Appreciation Day - Just think for a moment about how difficult it would be to do whatever it is you are presently doing (aside from reading my blog) without your thumbs. We depend on them for an innumerable number of tasks every day. Go ahead, just try to open a jar without your thumbs, or try to write a letter. Now it doesn’t seem so crazy to have a day such as this, does it?

National Drink Wine Day – Today is a day to celebrate all kinds of wine. While I would not recommend celebrating all day long or attempting to drink every kind of wine there is, especially since tomorrow is a work day, you can certainly celebrate by trying a glass or two. Please be safe and do not drink and drive.

Battery Day – Alessandro Volta was born on this day in 1745. He was a professor of physics and he created the first battery in the year 1800. He died in 1827 at the ripe old age of 82, which really doesn't seem so old now that I am about halfway there...but that's another story. He studied the chemistry of physics in the late 1770s and discovered methane in Italy after reading a paper Benjamin Franklin wrote on “flammable air”. He used methane to create an electric spark in a closed vessel and after much experimentation and scientific jargon that I don't understand, he invented the battery, the power of which is measured in volts named after Mr. Volta.

Cow Milked While Flying In An Airplane Day – On this day in 1930, Elm Farm Ollie, also known as “Nellie Jay” and later on “Sky Queen”, became the first cow to travel by airplane. In the midst of that flight, she was milked by Elsworth W. Bunce so that scientists could observe the effects of air travel on animals. And also so that they could say she was the first cow (and possibly the only cow) to be milked midair. Her milk was sealed in paper cartons and parachuted down to spectators.

Pluto Day – Also on this day in 1930 (it was a busy day), the planet Pluto was discovered by Clyde W. Tombaugh. Of course, in 2006, it was downgraded to Dwarf Planet, but to most of us who were born before 2000, it will always be a planet. Pluto is very small but it doesn't rotate very fast. One Pluto day equals 6 days, 9 hours, 17 minutes and 36 seconds on Earth. And none of us would live long enough to see a full orbit of Pluto around the sun. One year on Pluto equals 248 years on Earth.

February 17, 2018

Today we celebrate:

National Cafe Au Lait Day - This is a French coffee style consisting of coffee and hot milk. It is usually prepared in an espresso machine in Europe, but in the US, it is typically made with a French press. I’m not sure why there is a difference. Maybe espresso machines are more prevalent in Europe and French presses are more common here?

National Public Science Day - This is a day to raise awareness of the importance of science in education in this country and every other country on the earth. We must do what we can to foster enthusiasm for all the sciences in our children so we have a new bunch of scientists every year with new energy and new ideas to try.

My Way Day – Do you have trouble with people trying to tell you what to do or trying to get you to change the way you do things? I certainly do. Well, today you can tell them to stuff it because you're doing things MY way. I mean, YOUR way. Oh, you know what I mean.

National PTA Founders Day – The PTA was founded on this day in 1897, although it was originally called the National Congress of Mothers. It was created by Alice Birney and Phoebe Hearst to support parental involvement in the education of children and has been going strong ever since.

National Cabbage Day - There are many different kinds of cabbages in many different colors. Pick your favorite and cook with it today.

World Human Spirit Day – We celebrate this day by silently meditating for 2 minutes at 3pm EST in order to come together with the rest of the world with our minds and spirits and celebrate our connection with the rest of the human race. Our goal is supposed to be to request peace and harmony and healing in the world. The more people participate, the greater the connection will be. The people who created it in 2003 say that as you meditate together, there will hopefully be enough people doing it at the same time that you will be able to feel a connection to the rest of the world.

National Champion Crab Races Day – I was astounded to discover that there is a National Crab Racing Association. These are people who race hermit crabs professionally. I'm not sure whether the hermit crabs are also considered professionals. But if you and your friends have some hermit crabs, consider having a race today.

Random Acts Of Kindness Day – This is the wrap up to Random Acts Of Kindness Week. Find something nice to do for someone or maybe even multiple someones. Don't wait to be asked, and don't wait around for thanks. Strike fast, do good, and be gone. Hopefully it will be contagious. The creator of this day is Josh de Jong, a New Zealander, I think.

World Whale Day – This is a day celebrated on Maui for the last 36 years to honor the humpback whales that winter in Maui every year. There will be music from Hawaii's top music stars, food, a carnival, an artisan fair and more. Better yet, it's free. Transportation costs are, sadly, not included. This day is celebrated on the third Saturday in February.