April 30th Honesty Day

Are you hurt more by a lie or by the truth?  Of course we will all say we’d rather have the truth, but would we?  We do pay  the price of lies at some point.  It could be the next day, maybe the next month or maybe even years down the line but we pay for them none the less.  We often even find ourselves trying to sell a lie to ourselves!

In the mid 1990’s M. Hirsh Goldberg created Honesty Day.  One day out of the entire year where we tell the truth no matter what that may lead to.  Probably, someone saying they will use this day to tell the truth is telling a lie from the get go.  Some lies we consider “white lies”, those little lies that aren’t going to hurt anyone and save so much hassle trying to explain what we meant by telling the truth.

When your mate asks you if they look good your answer generally will be yes because while they may look perfectly awful to you it is so much easier to say they look fine.  It saves fighting, recriminations and hurt feelings.  It was a lie but who really got hurt?

Politically our leaders lie to us all the time.  Probably because we could not handle the truth or because the truth would be too hard to explain.  Of course it was a video that got our people killed in Benghazi, oh wait no it wasn’t but it doesn’t really matter cause it’s done and over now and what really matters is what we do moving forward!  Ah, it does matter cause if you don’t know what you did wrong to start with are you not likely to repeat it?  But maybe you really do know what happened and you are lying to us again.  And the people that say they are tired of hearing about it are lying, what they really mean is they don’t really care what happened so long as it doesn’t affect them directly.  (Now before you get on your political high-horse the Republicans are just as bad, and that’s the truth.)

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I had a friend tell me that the lie doesn’t matter, its the thought behind the lie.  I’m still trying to figure that one out.  I think what he meant was that if someone is lying to me to save me from the truth then it is a good thing.  We are constantly lied to.  By government, retail, well meaning friends, strangers, thieves, killers, con-artists (Though I guess technically they are thieves.), loved ones, people that hate us, people trying to buy something from us… it goes on and on and on.  I guess we really can say that there is a common thread to everyone we ever come in contact with.  Unfortunately, since that common thread is more often a lie than the truth, we really don’t know who, or what, they are trying to do to us.  Confused?  If you aren’t then that probably is a lie as well!  We are so use to being lied to that when we are told the truth, we more often than not, don’t believe it!

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How to celebrate: Tell the truth for a day, if you dare.  Stop pretending whether you care if you are lied to or not.  Don’t believe someone just because they say something.  Do the research and find out if it is true or not before you place a blind belief in that person.

April 29th Zipper Day

Where would we be without the zipper today.  We take it for granted, as though it has always been available to us but honestly, it’s a relatively new invention.

The first prototype zipper was made by Elias Howe in 1851. It didn’t work.  Next came Whitcomb Judson in 1893 who was already a successful inventor having created the Pneumatic Street Railway.  He went into business with Colonel Lewis Walker and formed the Universal Fastner Company, developing his “Clasp Locker” which debut came at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.  The only real problem was, it still didn’t work.

In 1901, the company was reorganized in New Jersey where it continued to try and make a workable product.  They hired a Swedish-American electrical engineer, Gideon Sundback who, after a marriage into the family, became the head designer.  He eventually moved the company to Pennsylvania and renamed it “Talon Inc.”.  It took until 1913 for Sundback to actually perfect the modern-day zipper.  Complicating it, he began to fight with Talon Inc. and moved the project to Canada to avoid legal complications in the US.  Over the years, this has made many believe that the zipper was a Canadian invention… it was not.  The Canadian company, “Lightning Fastner Company”, began to produce and distribute the “Zipper” Sundback had invented.

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While the new “zipper” caught on with companies requiring a fast closing device it did not break into the everyday market until B.F. Goodrich included the zipper on a pair of rubber boots for the consumer in 1923.  This was followed by Schott NYC who began using the zipper on leather jackets in 1925.  Since then, the zipper has become a part of everyday life.  Who knew such a simple product could have such a complicated beginning!

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How to celebrate:  Learn to appreciate your zipper, numerous men spent the vast majority of their lives trying to make it work!  Buy a pair of button fly pants so you can learn just how valuable the zipper actually is.  Find an interesting place to put a zipper, be different, use your imagination!

April 28th National Blueberry Pie Day

It’s funny how when you look for it, Mother Nature provides us with all we need.  Perhaps one of the most perfect foods on the face of the earth is the Blueberry.  It contains more antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetable and helps improve memory, brain function and is packed with vitamin C and fiber.  It reduces the chance of heart attack and heart failure, helps stop degradation of skin collagen, combats colon, liver and ovarian cancer, has a low glycemic level and may even have benefits for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The blueberry is native to America, particularly in Maine where more are grown than in any other place in the world.  They were called “Star Berries” by the Native Americans because of the 5 perfect points at the end of the blossom.  It seems inevitable that if it tastes good, a little sweet and a bright color and someone will make a pie out of it.  Good for us because it’s a way to eat something good for us that tastes so, so good too. (That’s not to say that there may be some not so good stuff in a pie for us as well)

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Blueberry Pie may be a nearly perfect pie.  Of course, to eat the blueberry in its natural form is always the best… but most of us have to add a little sugar or syrup anyway, hence a pie.  And what could be more patriotic?  You might naturally think of Apple pie but wait, apples were a part of the diet in Europe and Asia long before America was discovered.  So enjoy that blueberry pie and maybe add a little ice cream or whip cream, or what the heck, both and think of just how truly patriotic you are being while savoring every morsel.

How to celebrate:  Bake a blueberry pie.  Eat a blueberry pie. Make a blueberry pie for a friend.

April 27th Tell A Story Day

Now the intent in Tell A Story Day is to read a book to someone or yourself, or even tell a folklore or legend to a young person.  But I want to try something different.  I want to create a story.  Since the holiday is mainly celebrated in the US, England and Scotland, I’ll start it with a Scottish character.  It’s up to you where the story goes.  Heck, maybe if enough of us add to it we can make it another “39 Clues” and all become millionaires!  So here goes…

Ghillie Dhu

In the northwest of the highlands of Scotland, in and about the Gairloch and Loch a Druing lived a creature some thought was man, some though animal and others thought a bit of both.  He lived in the Birch Wood, dressed in moss and leaves to blend in with his surroundings, being a timid creature by choice.  He was a jolly soul, kindhearted and gentle, happy to live and let live.  He had one love outside of the woods he lived in, it was children.  He loved them and they loved him.

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That said, he was not the kind you wanted to cross though.  He was fiercely protective of his home, the woods and lochs, and would do anything to preserve them as they were. When Lord Gary decided to build an estate and village to support it on the Dhu’s native land he started a war that no one could have imagined.  For every tree Lord Gary took down, the Ghillie Dhu would make one of the village children his own.  Angry, Lord Gary cut down more trees and the Ghillie Dhu took more children, one for one.

The villagers grew more and more angry but not at Lord Gary.  It wasn’t Lord Gary that had their children, it was the Ghillie Dhu.  Now the children were fine.  They lived in the forests and learned to love them and how to protect them, all of which the Ghillie Dhu willingly taught.  As the years passed, the villagers found themselves at war with their own children, the very people they were trying to get back.

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Okay, so now it’s your turn!  Help write the story to its conclusion!

April 26th National Richter Scale Day

The Richter Scale defines magnitude as the logarithm of the ratio of the amplitude of the seismic waves to an arbitrary, minor amplitude.  So, now that we all know what that is, we can probably sleep a little better tonight.  Charles Richter, with assistance from Dr. Beno Gutenberg, figured this all out.  It was published in 1935 and has been used ever since, with a few modification. Kinda shows you that an earthquake is an earthquake whether it erupts in 2016 or 3 B.C..

The number value assigned to the violence associated with an earthquake magnifies with the earthquake’s depth, epicenter location and population density as well as a few other technical items that I could not decipher. The highest recorded earthquake in modern times, since they had the Richter Scale, was recorded by the United States Geological Service in 1960, a 9.5 called the Great Chilean Earthquake.

Now I have come up with my own definitions for the scale they have devised.  I am not trying to flippent with my definitions but honestly, do we really care about what the scientist label these earthquakes if we happen to be in the middle of one?  (Or maybe if they explained it so anyone could understand it) So, here we go…

.0 – It never happened.  Really, it’s .0!

.02 – Like a handgrenade has gone off near you.

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1.5 – You were near a construction blast.

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2.1 – A fertilizer plant blowing up.

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3.0 – The Oklahoma City terrorist explosion

Oklahoma City Bombing 20th Anniversary
FILE – In this May 5, 1995 file photo, a large group of search and rescue crew attends a memorial service in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The blast killed 168 people _ including 19 children _ injured hundreds more and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to structures and vehicles in the downtown area. (AP Photo/Bill Waugh, Flle)

3.5 – The Pepcon Fuel Plant explosion in 1988

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3.87 – The Chernobyl Nuclear explosion in 1986.

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3.91 – Shock & Awe

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6.0 – Little Boy during World War 2

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7.9 – The Tunguska Event

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8.35 – Tsar Bomba

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9.15 – The Toba Volcano eruption 75,000 years ago.  (Sorry, no photos here.)

13.0 – Well, just kiss your … goodbye.

How to celebrate: Well this is Charles Richter’s birthday, April 26th, 1900. (He died in 1985).  Get as far away from an fault line as you can.  Forget all this an just go on with your day, nothing you can do about it anyway!

 

April 25th East Meets West Day

There are many reasons given for East Meets West Day, sports teams, political aspiration and cook-offs.  The truth of the matter is this was a very important day in 1945.  It was when American troops, the 1st American Army, and Soviet troops, the 1st Ukrainian Front, met at a small town in Germany on the Elbe River.  It is the effective day that all resistance in Germany came to an end.  The town was Torgau, a provincial capitol in Eastern Germany.  The day was originally named Elbe Day as elements of both armies reached across a bridge and shook hands.

Many proposed that the Americans keep going and take all of Germany, Poland and defeat the Russians and communism before it was too late.  The Americans, moving quickly across Germany, were actually held up so that the Russians could capture as much territory as possible.  This arrangement had been settle by the Yalta Agreement long before the end of the war.  Most of the front line troops knew little of the agreement, nor did they care.  They found friendly faces greeting them instead of an enemy bent on their destruction.

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Thousands of Germans made their way west to surrender to the Americans rather than face the Russians.  The Russians had suffered tremendously over the years of the war and they wanted revenge for their own losses, the Americans were deemed to be a little more lenient.  With the war over and Germany was divided up between the Russians, Americans, French and English, the area where the two armies met fell into the hands of the Russians and became a part of the Iron Curtain.  The Cold War would begin and an entirely different type of fighting would begin.

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But on April 25th, 1945 this was one of the happiest days for those who were there.  For them the war was effectively over and friends stood face to face, both sides having survived the atrocities of war, a real reason to celebrate.

How to celebrate: Just remember them.  They lived and died for all of us and should never be forgotten.  Now that the Elbe is free to visit again, try an attend one of the re-enactments of the event.  Read a book about the Elbe Meeting where the East Met The West.

April 24th National Pigs-In-A-Blanket Day

If you are going to throw a party you have to have, no you must have, the most relished appetizer in the world… Pigs-In-A-Blanket.  It cannot be a party without them.  Not officially anyway.

There are many ways to make Pigs-In-A-Blanket.  You can use hot dogs (the traditional), sausage links, or even ground up sausage with rice and herbs.  You can serve them in pastry or bacon, or better yet, both.  You may want to check out these recipes for additional information. Place them next to the caviar and see which goes first!

You can even serve these tasty treats as a meal!  Just use full-sized hot dogs and serve with baked beans.  They go equally well as a breakfast meal if you use sausage links with eggs and cheese mixed in.

You can serve them with ketchup, mustard, relish, chili, cheese, onions … anything you might traditionally put on a hot dog.  You can spice them up with peppers or sauces, make them plain and simple or even disguise them and they will still be found.  Oh, and those you hide in the oven and pretend you forgot to serve so you can have some for yourself after the party, they’ll find those too.

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No one knows when or where Pigs-In-A-Blanket were first made.  More than likely it was by mistake or maybe a way to make another meal of hot dogs look a little more appetizing, the reason doesn’t really matter.  They have been around for a long time and will probably continue to be served far into the future.

How to celebrate:  Have a party.  Make some Pigs-In-A-Blanket just for the heck of it.  Go to a party, but make sure they are serving Pigs-In-A-Blanket before you go.