Saturday, August 25, 2018
Every month seems to have at least one holiday for each day, some well-known and celebrated and others wrapped in varying stages of obscurity. And in addition to the daily holidays, there are also month long celebrations devoted to various endeavors.
In the year 2018, the following month-long observations for September include: Classical Music Month, National Piano Month, International Square Dancing Month, National Courtesy Month [shouldn't this be a year long observation, every year?], National Chicken Month, National Honey Month, National Rice Month, National Papaya Month, Self-Improvement Month, Be Kind To Editors and Writers Month, Cable TV Month, National Bed Check Month, and National Mind Mapping Month.
Here's a list of the daily holidays (some dates having multiple celebrations scheduled for the same date). I've even included an explanation for a few of them.
Sept. 1 Emma M. Nutt Day—in celebration of the first woman telephone operator.
Sept. 2 National Beheading Day—every once in a while there's a holiday that has no obvious reason for being. Why would someone declare something as gruesome as beheading to be an activity that warrants a special holiday celebration? Beheadings have been a method of execution for both commoners and royalty throughout history and in today's society the practice includes the activities of terrorist groups. Probably the most famous royal beheadings were Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in 1793 during the French Revolution. There isn't any factual information about the origin of this holiday.
Sept. 3 Labor Day—since Labor Day is the first Monday in September, the date changes from year to year. This is the only legal holiday in September, one honoring the nation's workers, where government offices are closed along with the banks, schools, and the post office which means no mail delivery. This is the unofficial close of the summer season, as Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning. Canada also celebrates their Labor Day holiday on the first Monday in September.
Sept. 3 Skyscraper Day—a celebration of tall buildings?
Sept. 4 Newspaper Carrier Day—to honor those who deliver the newspaper to our homes.
Sept. 5 Be Late For Something Day—if you are among the millions who can't seem to stay on schedule, then this is a holiday for you. Being late is a common occurrence and can be caused by any number of things from it being a conscious desire to it being caused by circumstances beyond your control. There is no factual information about this holiday, but it leads us to the September 6th holiday which is…
Sept. 6 Fight Procrastination Day—for those of you mired down in Be Late For Something Day, this is a day to get things done. Many people consider procrastination as a way of life. There are even clubs dedicated to procrastination. Today is the day to make a decision…to take action. Fight those procrastination urges. There is no factual information about the origin of this holiday.
Sept. 6 This is also Read A Book Day—self-explanatory and important for those of us who write. Goes along with this being Be Kind To Editors and Writers Month.
Sept. 7 Neither Rain Nor Snow Day—this sounds like a tribute to those who deliver our mail.
Sept. 8 International Literacy Day—another holiday pertinent to those of us who write. Something we should all support with the goal of wiping out illiteracy in all countries.
Sept. 9 Teddy Bear Day—a day to honor our teddy bears, those past and those present.
Sept. 10 Swap Ideas Day—a day to share information, plans, ideas, and maybe even dreams.
Sept. 11 911 Remembrance—while not a legal holiday in the manner of Labor Day, it's certainly far removed from the frivolous and fun nature of the other holidays that fall into the bizarre and unusual category. This is the day in 2001 when 4 commercial airliners were high-jacked by terrorists; 2 flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, 1 flown into the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and 1 brought down by the passengers in a field in Pennsylvania thus preventing it from reaching its target in Washington D.C. To quote FDR (when speaking of the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, that officially brought the U.S. into World War II): "A date which will live in infamy."
Sept. 11 National Pet Memorial Day—this falls on the second Sunday in September, so the specific date changes from year to year. A day to honor the pets we've lost to time.
Sept. 12 Chocolate Milk Shake Day—all I can say is yummy!
Sept. 13 Defy Superstation Day—this is the day for you to defy all those superstitious beliefs that surround us. And the defiance starts by celebrating on the 13th. This holiday was created to help you eliminate all those superstitions from your daily life. There isn't any group who claims responsibility for this holiday, but it dates back at least to 1999 in origin.
Sept. 14 National Cream-Filled Donut Day—again, all I can say to this holiday is yummy!
Sept. 15 Make A Hat Day—I can only assume it's a holiday dedicated to making hats of all type for all occasions.
Sept. 16 Collect Rocks Day—for all you rock hounds out there, this is your day of celebration.
Sept. 17 National Apple Dumpling Day—and once again, all I can say about this holiday is yummy!
Sept. 18 National Women's Friendship Day—this is celebrated on the third Sunday in September. It's nice to have a holiday dedicated to friendship.
Sept. 18 National Cheeseburger Day—and even more yummies! Have you noticed how many holidays celebrate food and drink?
Sept. 19 International Talk Like A Pirate Day—a day to let out the pirate in each of us. You need to brush up on your pirate-speak in anticipation of this holiday. You're not required to dress like a pirate on this date, only to talk like one. This holiday was created by John Baur and Mark Summers in 1995 while they were playing racquetball and started talking to each other in pirate-speak as a fun thing to do.
Sept. 20 National Punch Day—I'm assuming (or choosing to believe) this relates to the beverage rather than hitting someone. So, I have to give it a yummy!
Sept. 21 World Gratitude Day—we all have things for which we need to express our gratitude. This is the day to do it.
Sept. 22 Elephant Appreciation Day—you can show your appreciation for all the elephants in the world.
Sept. 23 Dog In Politics Day—it seems that every year and every month and for that matter, every day in this election year, is filled with politics.
Sept. 24 National Cherries Jubilee Day—oh, yes…and another yummy!
Sept. 24 International Rabbit Day—this is celebrated on the 4th Saturday in September, for those of you who love your pet rabbits or are fans of Bugs Bunny.
Sept. 25 National Comic Book Day—for those who enjoy reading, writing, drawing, and collecting.
Sept. 26 Johnny Appleseed Day—in honor of the young man named John Chapman who planted apple trees across the country.
Sept. 27 Crush A Can Day—the beer can (hopefully empty) on the forehead? All I can say about this is ouch!
Sept. 28 Ask A Stupid Question Day—this is a chance for you to get all those stupid questions out of your system, all those questions you've been saving up because you thought they were too stupid to ask. And for this day, we have a special quote: "Stupid is as stupid does." (Forrest Gump). The origins of this holiday goes back to the 1980s when there was a movement by teachers to try to get kids to ask more questions in the classroom.
Sept. 29 Confucius Day—this is the day to get a fortune cookie and check your fortune.
Sept. 30 National Mud Pack Day—and another yummy! Oops, wait a minute…that's wrong. Mud packs, not mud pie…I've never understood how smearing mud on your face is suppose to be good for the skin.
And that's a listing of the bizarre and unique holidays for September of this year. Do any stand out as a favorite for you?
Saturday, August 18, 2018
Graphologists claim that your handwriting can reveal clues to your personality. There are many small details that provide clues to your personality in addition to several generalizations. Let's see if any of these observations ring true for you.
Small handwriting is associated with being studious, shy, meticulous and concentrated.
Large handwriting is associated with being an outgoing, attention-loving person.
Average handwriting is associated with being well-adjusted and adaptable.
Wide spacing between words means you enjoy your freedom. It also means that you don't typically enjoy large crowds and you don't like to be overwhelmed.
Narrow spacing between words means that you can't stand being alone and you tend to crowd people.
Having rounded letters is typically associated with being artistic or creative.
Having pointed letters can mean you are intense, intelligent, curious and aggressive.
People who write with connected letters are associated with being logical and systematic.
Crossing the very top of the 'T' generally means you have good self-esteem, are optimistic and ambitious.
Crossing the middle of the 't' generally means you are confident and comfortable in your own skin.
Leaving open letters (like not closing an 'O') typically means you are expressive, social and talkative.
Writing a closed letter 'O' indicates you are a private person and an introvert.
If the dot on your 'i' lands high above the letter, you are considered to be imaginative.
If your dot lands to the left of the letter 'i,' then you might be a procrastinator.
If the dot is perfectly over the 'i,' you are considered to be detail-oriented, empathetic and organized.
If the dot of your 'i' has a circle, then you are considered to be a visionary or child-like.
If the dot looks more like a slash, then you might be overly self-critical.
So ... what does your handwriting say about you?
Saturday, August 11, 2018
Before summer vacation time for this year has come and gone, you might want to consider taking a train trip.
Train travel in Europe is very commonplace. Whenever I travel to the UK, I always buy a Brit Rail pass before I go and use it for traveling all over Britain—day trips out of London to such places as Windsor, Oxford, Bath, Stratford-Upon-Avon and longer trips such as travel to Northern England and Scotland.
And in the U.S., with more and more restrictions and inconveniences put on airplane passengers and airlines constantly adding fees and surcharges on top of the ticket price, train travel has had quite a resurgence. And even though gasoline prices are down for the moment, not surprisingly the last few years have been the best in Amtrak's history. With the passenger's suggested arrival time at the airport now being two hours prior to your flight departure and you still have to contend with long security lines, the reduced number of flights which creates longer wait times when you need to change planes for a connection, and even a short flight now takes a lot more of your time than it used to.
The Travel Channel on cable television has a couple of shows about scenic train travel in America.
One of the nation's best rides is Amtrak's Southwest Chief that goes from Chicago to Los Angeles and gives the traveler a way to relive America's 1800s expansion west. The train trip lasts a little over forty hours, traveling through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and the famous wild west town of Dodge City, setting for the long-running television series Gunsmoke. From there it continues into Colorado and New Mexico. Then across northern Arizona with the availability of a side trip to the Grand Canyon on a historic old steam train. And finally into Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.
With only a few exceptions, this ride is on the same tracks that were once the Santa Fe Railway which was built along the old Santa Fe wagon train trail, a route that also inspired the highway of the days before Interstates crisscrossed the country—the famous Route 66.
Here are five more great long-rail journeys to consider.
The West Coast's Coast Starlight is considered by most travelers to be Amtrak's most scenic route. It runs along the Pacific Ocean between Los Angeles, California, and Seattle, Washington, traveling through some truly spectacular scenery.
From California, the classic route east is the California Zephyr, following the path of the first transcontinental railway between San Francisco and Chicago. It visits such places as Sacramento, Reno, Salt Lake City, across the Rockies to Denver, through Nebraska and Iowa to Chicago.
By taking the Southwest Chief in one direction and returning on the California Zephyr, you are traveling what the Gilded Age tourists in the 1880s and 1890s called the Grand Tour of America.
If you want a ride that goes through the heart of the country, try the Texas Eagle starting in Chicago. It crosses the Mississippi River at St. Louis, travels down through the Ozarks, across Arkansas into eastern Texas, and continues through Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and on to San Antonio where it connects with the Sunset Limited to Los Angeles.
The East Coast relies much more on rail service than the rest of the country, especially the heavily used tracks in the high traffic corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C.
One of the country's first scenic rail routes is the Empire Service from New York City up through the Hudson River Valley where Washington Irving's Ichabod Crane encountered the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hallow.
And if you're on the East Coast and are heading to Florida, you can take the Auto Train where your car travels with you. Passengers board just south of Washington, D.C., and their vehicles are loaded on the train. The trip terminates just outside Orlando, Florida.
Maybe you're not planning a vacation by train, but would like the train experience. There are lots of day trips in various parts of the country, including vintage steam and narrow gauge railroads. My personal favorite is the Napa Valley Wine Train in California, which includes winery stops. Alaska Railway's White Pass & Yukon Route offers a three hour tour through some truly dramatic scenery.
Have any of you taken a train vacation? A day trip train tour?
*Note: I know the aforementioned train trips were viable a couple of years ago, but I have not confirmed that they are still in operation.