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August 18, 2016

Today we celebrate:

Helium Discovery Day - On this day in 1868, helium was discovered by a French astronomer, Pierre Jules Cesar Janssen, using a spectroscope during a solar eclipse in the spectrum of the sun. Over the next few weeks Monsieur Janssen  worked on a way to see it without the solar eclipse. Meanwhile, an English Astronomer, Joseph Lockyer, made a similar discovery a short time after. They both wrote a paper on the subject and submitted it to the French Academy of Sciences on the same day, so both get credit for the first sighting of helium.

Birth Control Pills Day - On this day in 1960, oral contraceptives began to be sold by the G.D. Searle company. They were created by Gregory Pincus and probably a team of people that he worked with. This invention put into women’s hands the ability to decide when they were ready to have kids because birth control methods prior to this were extremely unreliable which is why families were generally very large.

National Ice Cream Pie Day – Do you have a pie crust handy? Maybe some ice cream? Then you have all the makings for a ice cream pie. Soften the ice cream, spread it into the pie crust and refreeze. Delicious.

National Soft Ice Cream Day – I’m not sure why this is on the same day as the ice cream pie but who cares?  Soft ice cream is the best. I absolutely love it and cannot turn it down no matter how much I should since it's made with dairy and I'm allergic. For this dish, I'll accept the consequences.

Long Tan Day or Vietnam Veterans Day (Australia) – On this day in 1966, the First Australian Task Force (ATF) to Vietnam prevailed over the Viet Cong forces in the Battle of Long Tan. This is a day to honor those veterans who came home and those who did not. It was an amazing victory for them because the Viet Cong forces of approx. 2,000 men outnumbered the small company of 108 men when they were isolated from the other American and New Zealand platoons. That small group held their own for many hours before the other platoons could break through and force the Viet Cong to retreat. The Australians lost 18 men but the Viet Cong lost 245.

Mail Order Catalog Day – Montgomery Ward was the first company to make a mail order catalog on this day in 1872. It was only one page. It did well so they went crazy with it and by 1904 it weighed four pounds. They kept it going until 1985 but by then the idea had long been picked up by scores of other companies and our mail boxes have not stopped groaning under the weight of it all.

Serendipity Day – This is a day “to live as though everything is a miracle...with the belief that at any moment, something wonderful is about to happen.” This is according to Madeleine Kay who is on a mission to encourage as many people as she can to look for serendipity and celebrate it.

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