Archive | February, 2013

National Public Sleeping Day

February 28 is National Public Sleeping Day!

Some people don’t need a holiday to tell them to take a snooze in a public place; you know because you’ve seen them sleeping in the park, on the bus, or somewhere else random. For the rest of us, however, National Public Sleeping Day is a real treat. Get outside your comfort zone and take a quick nap on a park bench, on the train, or (ideally) on the beach.

Did You Know?

Humans sleep on average around three hours less than other primates such as chimps, rhesus monkeys, squirrel monkeys and baboons, all of whom sleep for 10 hours.

Teenagers need as much sleep as small children (about 10 hrs), while those over 65 need the least of all (about six hours). For the average adult aged 25-55, eight hours is optimal.

The record for the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes during a rocking chair marathon.

Sources: WikiHow, ABC

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Louis Vuitton Dies at 70

French businessman, craftsman, designer, and founder of his namesake leather goods brand, Louis Vuitton, died on February 27, 1892.

Louis Vuitton was born in Anchay, France in 1821 into a working class family. Tormented by his stepmother and bored of the mountain life, Vuitton set out for the exciting city of Paris at the tender age of 13. It took him two years to walk the nearly 300 miles from Anchay to Paris, stopping ever so often along the way for shelter and food.

Once he made it to Paris, Louis Vuitton served as an apprentice under successful box maker Monsieur Marechal. Within a few years, Vuitton had made a name for himself as a premier craftsman of boxes and luggage within the Parisian fashion scene.

When the Empress of France commissioned Louis Vuitton, he became exposed to a new elite and royal clientele. Vuitton even created a new luggage trunk that was easier to transport and stack, more water resistant, more durable, and lighter; critics called this trunk the birth of modern luggage.

However, Louis Vuitton’s luggage business came screeching to a halt at the onset of the Franco-Prussian War. Vuitton returned to his shop following the war only to find a ransacked factory, no remaining workers, and the village o f Asnieres in ruins.

With fervent determination, Louis Vuitton devoted his time to making his luggage company bigger and better and set up shop in an affluent section of Paris at the address of 1 Rue Scribe. Vuitton spent the next 20 years molding his luggage business into a luxury brand until his death in 1892. Since then, Louis Vuitton has become one of the most sought after and recognizable luxury brands around the globe.

Sources: Biography, Wikipedia

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National Pistachio Day

February 26 is National Pistachio Day!

Native to the Middle East, the Pistachio Tree produces bunches of fruit whose seeds are the pistachio nut. According to some sources, people have eaten pistachios for over 9,000 years!

Pistachios are antioxidant-rich and are great sources of fiber, copper, manganese, and vitamin B6. Celebrate National Pistachio Day by eating a special dish that contains the nut, or eating them out of the shell salted and roasted.

Here are some great pistachio recipes!

Sources: Wikipedia, Punchbowl

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History and Origin of Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time is the practice of adjusting clocks so that the optimum amount of daylight is utilized; clocks are turned one hour forward in the spring (spring ahead) and one hour back in the fall (fall behind). It is observed in several parts of the world, most notably North America, with the exception of Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

What we know today as Daylight Saving Time was an idea originally introduced in 1895 by New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson. He proposed a two hour daylight saving change to the Wellington Philosophical Society which received a lot of interest. Independently, outdoorsman William Willet proposed advancing clocks in the summer months in 1905, which was considered by British Parliament but not officially passed into law.

Germany launched observation of Daylight Saving Time on May 1, 1916 in an effort to conserve fuel during World War I. Many European nations followed suit, and the United States began observing Daylight Saving Time as mandated by the Standard Time Act of 1918. After the war, Daylight Saving Time was eradicated until World War II, when the federal government required states to observe the time change yet again as an endeavor to save energy for war production.

Following World War II, states chose independently whether or not they would adhere to Daylight Saving Time, which took advantage of later daylight hours between April and October. That is, until Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966, legislation that would standardize Daylight Saving Time throughout the nation.

Daylight Saving Time was extended four weeks in 2007 as a result of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The reason behind this was an attempt to save 10,000 barrels of oil every day, and lengthened Daylight Saving Time from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

The benefits of Daylight Saving Time are seen in retail and business, sports, and the decrease in the amount of traffic-related accidents. The time change does present challenges as well, most notably the disruption of travel, billing, record keeping, software updates, and sleeping patterns.

Sources: Geography, Wikipedia, National Geographic

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Renoir’s Birthday

February 25 is French painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s birthday!

Born in 1841 in Limoges, France, Renoir honed in on his artistic skills as a child while working at a porcelain factory where he was recruited to paint designs on fine china. Renoir officially began studying art in Paris in 1862 under Charles Gleyre, where he was introduced to fellow artists Alfred Sisley, Frederic Bazille, and Claude Monet.

In 1864, Renoir began showing his paintings at this Paris Salon. His work was not officially acknowledged until ten years later when six of his paintings were shown at the first Impressionist exhibit in 1874.

After many year of struggling as an artist, Renoir helped mold the Impressionist artistic movement and became one of the most esteemed artists of his time. Posthumously, Renoir’s paintings have become extremely popular; two of them have sold for more than $70 Million.

Check out some of our calendars that feature French Impressionist painter Pierre-August Renoir!

Sources: Wikipedia

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Andrew Johnson Impeached

On February 24, 1868, the House of Representatives impeached the 17th President of the United States, Andrew Johnson.

Vice President Andrew Johnson succeeded President Abraham Lincoln after he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 15, 1865. Tensions were high during Johnson’s presidency as he and the wing of Radical Republicans continually butted heads on the issue of newly freed slaves and the punishment for Confederate soldiers.

The Radical Republicans wanted to pass Reconstruction legislation that would protect newly freed slaves and create harsh punishments for the Confederates. Johnson, a Southerner through and through, sought more lenient treatment of Confederate soldiers and repeatedly rejected civil rights legislation and financial support to former slaves.

Andrew Johnson was charged based on 11 articles of impeachment including a violation of the Tenure of Office Act. He was impeached by a vote of 126 to 47. Later, the impeachment and trial would come to be known as an act of political convenience rather than requirement.

Andrew Johnson was the only United States President to have been impeached by the House of Representatives until President Bill Clinton 131 years later.

Sources: Wikipedia, PBS

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Play Tennis Day

February 23 is Play Tennis Day!

Millions of people around the world play tennis. In addition to being a really fun game, a tennis match can also be great exercise! Playing tennis is a total body workout; the sport can exercise your arms, legs, abs, and increase flexibility while acting as a great form of cardiovascular exercise. Grab a friend and get a game started!

Experiment with some serves used by professional tennis players.

Sources: Holiday Insights, Tennis Welcome Center

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Walking the Dog Day

February 22 is Walking the Dog Day!

Taking a stroll with your canine companion can be great exercise for the both of you. Although dogs should be walked daily, today is the day to treat your dog to an extra long walk out in nature. If your dog has been cooped up all day, a lengthy walk will surely be the highlight of their day.

Exercise your furry pal by taking him or her on a nice long walk today. Or, if you don’t have a dog, take a different approach and practice “Walking the Dog” with a yo-yo!

Sources: Squidoo, Examiner

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Malcolm X Assassinated

The assassination of African American Muslim minister and civil rights activist Malcolm X took place on February 21, 1965.

Malcolm X was born as Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska on May 19, 1925. His family suffered severe harassment from white supremacist groups who were threatened by his father Earl’s civil rights activism. Constant threats from groups like the Ku Klux Klan caused the Little family to move to East Lansing, Michigan.

Shortly after moving to Michigan, Malcolm’s father was killed. It is speculated that he was murdered by white supremacists, but no investigation was ever opened. Unable to deal with her husband’s death, Malcolm’s mother was committed to a mental institution while her eight children spread out over several orphanages and foster homes.

Even though he excelled in school, Malcolm dropped out at the age of 15 after a teacher told him that there was no point in pursuing his education because of his race. He moved toBoston,Massachusettsto live with his sister and turned to a life of crime. Malcolm was sent to prison in 1946 to serve a 10-year sentence for larceny.

While incarcerated, Malcolm read the teachings of Elijah Muhammad and converted to the Nation of Islam. He decided to drop his last name “Little” and adopted the surname “X” as homage to his unknown black ancestors. Upon his release, Malcolm’s charismatic nature and commanding presence led him to become the spokesperson for the Nation of Islam and Elijah Muhammad’s right hand man.

The teachings of the Nation of Islam differed from the civil rights movement in that it emphasized complete separation of the races and change through violence rather than peaceful integration. In 1964, Malcolm became disenchanted with the Nation of Islam and decided to convert to Sunni Islam after making the Muslim pilgrimage toMecca.

After his trip, Malcolm was more positive about the civil rights movement than ever and sought to collaborate with other civil rights leaders for constructive change. On February 21, 1965 he was supposed to give a speech at the Audubon Ballroom inManhattanbut was shot several times at point blank range. At the age of 39, he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Malcolm X will always be remembered as one of the most influential African Americans in history, and a charismatic civil rights figure that was taken too soon.

Sources: Biography, Wikipedia

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Stay Tuned For More Chances to Win!

Check back in Summer 2013 for contests and giveaways from!

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