June 6th D-Day, WW II

There are somethings we should never forget and D-Day is one of them. June 6th, 1944 was the beginning of the end or World War 2 when allied troops from American, Britain and Canada landed on 5 beaches in France. The US attacked Omaha and Utah beaches, UK Gold & Sword beaches and Canada Juno beach. 156,000 men gained a foothold in Europe against Germany though it cost some 4,000 their lives. The operation was a success to some degree because the Germans were fooled, knowing the invasion was coming but thinking it would fall elsewhere. Landings had already taken place in Italy but the final blow came in France on June 6th, 1944.

How to celebrate – Remember those who paid the supreme price to retake Europe. Visit the Normandy landing areas if you go to Europe. Read and the landings and sacrifice made by the Allied soldiers.

August 30th National Frankenstein Day

It’s hard to imagine the world without Frankenstein. For those of us born after 1818, the day Frankenstein was published, he has been there for us, creeping around every corner, hiding in the woods or knocking on our door for some candy.

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Written by Mary Wollenstone Shelly this character has become a classic. You could say there’s a little of all of us in Frankenstein. An arm here, a leg there a brain or two from anywhere, he is the ultimate man-made monster brought to life by Doctor Frankenstein in his laboratory before the invention of electricity, cars or M & M’s.

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Of course he has been pitted against nearly every other European monster… the Wolfman, Dracula, Charlie Chaplin. Well, at least he had more lines in his films than Charlie Chaplin. He normally won proving brawn stands for something but he loses in the end to man. Of course he is a man, many men, so I guess you could say he loses to himself.

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One of my all time favorite movies is Young Frankenstein, a spoof about the monster and his creator. I still break up when Dr. Frankenstein finds out that Igor got him the brain of a guy named Abby Normal for his monster.

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We celebrate today because it is Mary Shelley’s birthday, August 30th, though she was born in 1797. You have to wonder what nightmare she had before writing this one down. However, it became a classic she will be remembered forever for.

How to celebrate – Read the original Frankenstein. Watch Young Frankenstein. Set up a Frankenstein movie marathon. (You might want to set aside several days)

May 8th V.E. Day

Today marks the end of the war in Europe, May 8th, 1945. The actual day was supposed to be May 9th but when the press caught wind of the day the U.S. and U.K. decided to change the date to the 8th. Russia has kept the date of May 9th originally set.

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The Third Reich had started the war in the 1930’s, it is no doubt one of the darkest times in history. The destruction in Europe and the loss of life still leaves it’s mark on society. Bombed out buildings and destroyed relics of the Normandy invasion still show themselves, some on purpose, some still under repair even nearly 70 years later.

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War always shows the best of man, and the worst, the heroes and the criminals, the victims and those who profit from war. Germany, and her allies, actually surrendered on May 2nd but it took time to reach the troops in the field and to arrest those involved in the atrocities associated with war.

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The war itself raged on with those fighting against Japan but without Germany Japan was soon to fall. We now are losing many of those veterans that fought to preserve freedom. The saddest part of that is that we as a people tend to forget the causes and effects of the war, tending to make us repeat those same mistakes.

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There should be no place for tyranny  or greed in the world but as long as man occupies the Earth there will be. Let us hope that here will also be the heroes to bring it to an end as well.

How to celebrate – Thank any veteran, not only of world war 2 but of any war, you may see for their service and sacrifice. Study the reasons for war so that you can at least try to help prevent future attrocities. Visit Europe and see the scares left behind.

April 12th National Liquorice Day

Liquorice or Licorice is actually a root.  In it’s natural state it is slightly sweet but not as most of us know it to be from the candy.  It comes from the Glycyrrhiza Glabra plant, found manly in Southern Europe, Asia and India.

It actually has many uses.  It is used in food, medicine, beverages and even tobacco.  Apparently it even works well as shampoo.  It treats sore throats, bronchitis, coughing and infections, both viral and biological.  It helps the digestive system, heartburn, colic and gastritis. It is used to treat prostate cancer as well as eczema.  It also increases fertility.

In many Mid-Eastern countries, liquorice is served as a drink, like coffee.  No one knows how first discovered liquorice but it is clear it has been around for centuries.  I have alwys been curious who dug up a plant and decided to use the roots to make something, anything.  In this case, they dug up a plant with roots that look like twigs.  Someone had to say to themselves, I bet this tastes pretty good!  At the same time, someone standing next to him, or her, said to themselves, I think I’ll try it as shampoo.  Of course it is just a hop-skip and a jump to using it in medicine and tobacco.  However it is nice to know that something that gives you cancer, like tobacco with liquorice in it, can be treated by the exact same product, liquorice as a cure.

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Now before you think you can cure yourself by eating a hundred bags of Twizzlers I’m afraid it won’t work.  Liquorice is semi-sweet as it comes out of the ground, but the real candy has Anisteed Oil added to it which tastes somewhat like liquorice but is much, much sweeter.  Unfortunately, Anisteed Oil contains none of the cure as in liquorice root.  April 12th is also my Father’s birthday, and he loves liquorice!