June 15th National Nature Photography Day

Nature provides us with more beautiful scenes than we could ever create on our own.  It also provides humor and awe and in an attempt to capture some of that we take pictures so that we can remember.

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Nature photographers don’t often get the glory that other photographers get. After all, they are just capturing something that is already there… but there is an art to it, just like any other kind of photography. Actually, there may even be more of an art to capture Mother Nature than in any other form of photography.  While nature provides the subject, it often requires a lot of effort to get the shot.

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It can  require traveling and planning, having to be at the right spot at just the right time with the right equipment exactly when nature provides the opportunity. It also takes more observation, the photographer seeing things most of us just take for granted.

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Anybody can create a shot in a studio. It’s a totally controlled environment using material set up by set decorators and lighting that can be adjusted to make the shot look, natural. Nature does not offer those same opportunities.

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And occasionally, even the nature photographer is surprised by the results. The day was created by the North American Nature Photography Association in 2006. (NANPA was created 1994.)

How to celebrate – Grab you camera and become a nature photographer yourself. Go to an art exhibition featuring photography taken in nature. Make a picture say a thousand words.

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July 17th World Emoji Day

We all use them, some of us more than others, but they are there so… why not? The Emoji. You know, I’m not even sure where the name came from and though it’s probably important, I don’t care either!

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There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of Emojis. There are supposed to be Emojis for every human emotion and feeling ever felt! And every day there seems to be another one or two of them, which means our emotions must be growing!

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They were first created in Japan during the 1990’s, mostly for cell phone use. They are based on Harvey Ball’s smiley face created in 1963 and placed on t-shirts. (No, sorry, for those that thought it was Forrest  Gump.) Jeremy Burge invented the Emojipedia in 2013 and World Emoji Day in 2014.

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They have become almost as real as people themselves. (Many are much cuter than we are) If you have ever had a friend that sends you emails or text messages that always include Emojis and then suddenly you get one with out and Emoji you wonder what is wrong.

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There may even become a day when all we use are Emojis for communication. Why use words when you can use pictures!?! After all, isn’t that what cave man did so long ago?

How to celebrate – Use an Emoji. Create your own Emoji. Become cave man (Or is that cave person?).

July 16th Global Hug Your Kids Day

It seems odd to me that some days are created out of tragedy. Days that should come every day requiring no special holiday be created. Today was created by Michelle Nichols in 1998 for her son, Mark, who was dying from brain cancer. He was only 8 and a half years on this earth. In our daily grind, maybe sometimes we forget to stop and do the simplest things that really make life worthwhile. Like hugging your child.

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It doesn’t matter what you do to make a living, how much money you make or how important you are to the world… there is nothing more rewarding than hugging someone you brought to life. You can be the President of the United States or a homeless person roaming the streets, the hug is just as important both for the receiver and the giver. Who is, after all, more important than your child?

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The correct answer should be, has to be, your child. And giving them a hug is about as selfish as you can get because in reality, what you give will be returned ten fold. We all need hugs, it makes us feel wanted and needed and the reward is knowing that you mean enough to someone that they will hug you. And who more do you want to mean something to other than your child.

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So do something easy today that actually means something, hug your child. Let them know you love them, and let them show their love for you. It’s a win-win for everyone.

How to celebrate – Hug your kid.

 

July 15th National Ice Cream Day

So what’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? Do you like simple flavors like strawberry, chocolate or vanilla? Or do you like the more complicated flavors like Chocolate Double Fudge Vanilla Bean Brocoli Stem Grasshopper best? Well, whatever your favorite is, today is the day to enjoy it.

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It was like a hundred years ago that Baskin Robins came out with 31 flavors. Today there are probably more like 31,000 flavors! It is believed that Italo Marchiony came up with the first ice cream cone in 1896 somewhere in New York. It was lemon flavored. But this cannot be documented. Charles E. Minches did, however, serve an ice cream cone at the 1904 World’s Fair in St.. Louis. But it was not until President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the day the third Sunday in July in 1984 for it to become official.

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Does any of that really matter though? We are talking ice cream here, one of the worlds most favorite treats, particularly during the summer.And today we are even making ice cream without cream in it for the lactose intolerant!

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Well fancy or plain, ice cream is always a treat enjoyed by nearly everyone. It tastes great, cools you down and relaxes you… at least until the sugar rush kicks in!

How to celebrate – Have a bowl or cone of ice cream. Invent your own new flavor of ice cream. Have an ice cream tasting party and try some new flavors.

July 14th Bastille Day

I have always thought the French Revolution was an odd occurrence. Not that it happened, the people wanted democracy over the Constitutional Monarchy. Don’t blame them. What is odd is that the monarch of France thought it was a good idea to help America win it’s revolution with out any thought that his own people might do the same!

Well, they did, and on July 14th, 1789 they stormed the Bastille to take over the country. Now most think the Bastille was a government building and I guess, in a way, it sort of was. It was a prison. The people freed those who could lead the rebellion against the king, most of whom the king had put in the Bastille. In France it is known as “Fete de la Federation”.

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One thing we should remember is that freedom is something won, not given. It has to be fought for and to fight for it, you have to have weapons. The first thing Germany did before World War 2 was to take away all weapons from the people. They could not fight back. Same thing after the Russian Revolution bringing communism into power. In fact, nearly every country that has had it’s right to bear arms taken away has lost it’s people’s freedom. (Not so in the UK)

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Bastille Day has been celebrated ever since July 14th, 1790. It will continue to be celebrated as long as the French people are free. Just like here in the US. We should love one another, but be able to defend our freedom from all those who would take it away. If you look at every country where people are suffering, you will find they have no way to fight back.

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How to celebrate – Throw a Bastille Day party! Celebrate your freedom! Study history to know how we all got to be where we are.

July 13th Embrace Your Geekness Day

July 13th Embrace Your Geekness Day

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Most of us are Geeks in some way. Me, I use to do Civil War re-enactments – the precursor to cosplay (For those who wonder I always play a Union soldier since no one else wanted to).

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It doesn’t matter what your geekness is, today is the day to celebrate it. Star Wars, Beatles, Scale Model builders it is something you enjoy and no one, but no one, has the right to tell you whether it’s fun or not! Wellcat created the day. It is not a day for just scientists and math nerds!

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How to celebrate – Let you true Geekness out today. Allow others their dreams and oddness. Reveal your Geekness to those you love.

July 12th National Pecan Pie Day

Almost as popular and American as apple pie, the pecan pie ranks high among treats enjoyed for the holidays, and every day. This traditionally southern dessert has even become popular in the north, east, west and Europe!

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My research did not divulge who invented the pecan pie. I did not spend hours looking it up because it was making me hungry. It has been around for as long as I can remember… and that’s long enough.

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Hopefully you can read the recipe above. If you can’t, there are tons of recipes to choose from. One of the more popular these days is combining regular pecan pie with chocolate. It is good, but, to me, not as good as the original. It’s always hard to top something that is already about as good as it can get.

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We’ve even miniaturized the pecan pie so that it can be enjoyed as a between meal snack or be served at parties. Of course, most of us eat enough of them to make up for an entire piece of pie… or two. They seem less fattening when they are so small.

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Well I love pecan pie. You may not, it’s okay… I’ll eat your piece. A little whipped cram on the top is nice. And you don’t have to wait for a holiday to come to enjoy a piece of pecan pie because like whoever invented this day… you can make up one of your own!

How to celebrate – Have a piece of pecan pie! See if you can improve the recipes, but I doubt that you can. Go nuts!

July 11th National Cheer Up The Lonely Day

Have you ever felt lonely? Of course you have, we all have. Maybe it lasts a day, a week or maybe even as long as a month… but can you imagine feeling lonely for years? Decades? A Century? There are those that do. There are those that feel lonely all the time, even in a crowded room.

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Loneliness leads to depression because people need people. We all want someone to care whether we live or die, laugh or cry or even feel loved. After all, loneliness really is about feeling loved. That’s why you can feel alone in a crowded room, sure there are people there but would any of them miss you if you weren’t there?

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We are all animals. There is nothing as sad as seeing a dog or cat sitting on the side of the road that looks like it’s lost it’s best friend. Well, it has, at least for the time being. But animals take on that Steven Stills attitude of “If You Can’t Be With The One You Love, Love The One Your With”. But people not so much so.

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And just trying to fool someone doesn’t work. You have to really care, not just act like you care, and it’s not all that hard to do. Just showing someone that you care enough to take the time to show them some compassion. Just one person, you, can make a difference.

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And then sometimes it’s just a matter of slapping someone in the face and telling them to cheer up! Just make darn sure that they aren’t bigger than you! (And I am not condoning violence.)

How to celebrate – Try and help someone you know may be lonely. Visit a retirement home. Rescue an animal that needs a home.