Oatmeal Cookie Day

oatmeal cookiesMarch 18 is Oatmeal Cookie Day! Exactly what they sound like – oatmeal cookies are cookies made of ground oats, usually with the addition of nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips.

The origin of this day is unknown, but oatmeal cookies have existed as a tasty sweet snack since the 1800s. Oats themselves were first cultivated in 7,000 BC in ancient China, making them one of the earliest cereals known to man. The predecessor to oatmeal cookies – oatcakes – were carried and consumed by soldiers in the Middle Ages when they needed something to boost their energy before battle. Over the years, the recipe for oatcakes was tweaked and updated and made into the sweeter oatmeal cookies we know today.

Oatmeal cookies are considered healthier than most other cookies because oats are exchanged for most of the flour used in normal cookies, and only one egg is typically needed to bind ingredients together. The addition of other ingredients depends on your specific taste. Sometime honey or molasses is used in place of sugar to sweeten the treats. Other popular additions include nuts, raisins, and chocolate chips. Though oatcakes do differ from the modern-day oatmeal cookie, many of the same spices are still used. These cookies are also known for being a great source of iron and fiber.

To celebrate today, try some of these delicious oatmeal cookie recipes we’ve dug up:

Sources: Punchbowl, CNN’s Eatocracy, Foodimentary

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Alexander McQueen’s Birthday

scan02.tifOn March 17, 1969, British fashion designer Alexander McQueen was born.

McQueen was the youngest of six children born to taxi driver Ronald McQueen and social science teacher Joyce McQueen in Lewisham, London. While in primary school, McQueen began making dresses for his three sisters and announced his intentions to eventually become a fashion designer. At age 16, he dropped out of school and began working on Savile Row, a famous area of London well-known for offering shoppers made-to-order men’s suits. After working for a few different tailors, McQueen finally moved to Savile Row to further develop his career in fashion. He eventually began working for costume designers Angels and Bermans and developed the theatrical and extravagant style he later became known for.

The blossoming designer moved to Milan for a short period of time and worked for designer Romeo Gigli. In 1994, he returned to London and enrolled in Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design, from which he received a masters degree in fashion design. His final school collection was inspired by Jack the Ripper and bought in its entirety by eccentric London stylist Isabella Blow. She has been credited with “discovering” McQueen and bringing him into the public eye.

His women’s designs became popular, with his pieces like “bumster” pants (pants with an extremely low-cut waistline) receiving considerable recognition. Shortly after graduating, he was appointed the Chief Designer for Louis Vuitton-owned haute couture house, Givenchy. McQueen worked for the house from 1996-2001, often pushing the limits of what people expected of the house and of the world of high fashion in general. His rebellious nature led to controversy. One famous incident was when McQueen used an amputee model in a Givenchy runway show, who walked down the catwalk with intricately carved wooden legs. Although he felt as though his talents were being held back, McQueen won British Designer of the Year in 1996, 1997, and 2001 – all during his time at Givenchy.

Pieces from McQueen's Fall/Winter 2006 collection.

Pieces from McQueen’s Fall/Winter 2006 collection.

With his full potential yet to be untapped, McQueen was able to strike out on his own when Gucci bought a 51 percent stake in McQueen’s private company in 2000. He left Givenchy the next year when his contract with the house ended. McQueen was honored with British Designer of the Year once more and was named International Designer of the Year in 2003 by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. He opened stores in New York, Milan, Las Vegas, London, and Los Angeles, and his success skyrocketed even more with production of his fantastical and spectacular runway shows. One of his most famous shows was for his 2006 Fall/Winter line which included an ethereal floating hologram of model Kate Moss.

Although he celebrated incredible success and achievement in the fashion industry, McQueen began to suffer from depression after his long-time friend Isabella Blow committed suicide and his mother died of cancer two years later. Haunted by the deaths of these two important figures in his life, McQueen was found dead in his apartment after an apparent suicide.

McQueen’s story is one admired by many, as he came from a lower-class family and skyrocketed himself into international fame. His remarkable designs and runway shows have inspired designers all over the world, and his fashions are worn by many celebrity patrons to this day including the likes of Lady Gaga, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rihanna and more.

Sources: Biography.com, Wikipedia, The Biography Channel

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Everything You Do Is Right Day

March 16 is Everything You Do is Right Day! Could there be a more perfect day than one where everything decision you make is the right one? We think not.

We’re not sure who came up with this holiday, but who cares? We all know that there are certain moments that are terrible and you wish never happened, and other times when everything seems wonderful and perfect. There’s no doubt about it – I think we’d all pick the latter. Life has it’s ups and downs, and today is one where we celebrate all the good because everything will go our way!

It actually happens that yesterday, March 15, was Everything You Do Is Wrong Day, so now that you got all your blunders out of the way, it’s time to pick up the pieces and do everything the correct way.

We hope you got out of bed on the right side of the bed this morning! Now go have an amazing breakfast with someone you love, do everything right at work (or play), and enjoy the day.

Sources: Holiday Insights, Yahoo News, Examiner.com

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Julius Caesar Dies

On March 15, 44 BC, Julius Caesar, Roman Consul, statesman, general, and Latin prose author was assassinated. He played a crucial role in the events leading up to the fall of the Roman Republic and the subsequent rise of the Roman Empire.

During Caesar’s time, Romans were reluctant to give praise to a king. Caesar was a powerful member of the Roman senate, and although he turned down the idea of kingship when it was presented to him, he held steady in the position of “dictator for life.” This action is what turned many against Caesar and plots for his assassination began to take hold. More disdainful feelings started to brew in the minds of many when Caesar’s face appeared on Roman coinage. This angered many because that honor was usually only given to deities.

The conspirators behind the attack on Caesar were called “the liberators.” At the head of this group was Marcus Brutus, who was somewhat torn with his relationship with Caesar. Caesar had spared the life of Brutus and promoted him in office even though Brutus had fought against Caesar in the Roman civil war. Brutus’s family, however, was known for defying those who were power hungry, and thus Brutus’s animosity towards Caesar grew.

Cassius Longinus was also a main conspirator and worked to get Brutus to join him in plotting against the “dictator for life.” Caesar was scheduled to leave Rome on March 18 to begin help fighting a battle, so the conspirators knew they had to work fast. Upon entering a Senate meeting, Caesar was apparently handed a note, warning him of his fate, but he failed to read it. He was soon surrounded by senators holding daggers, and was stabbed 23 times. In all, there were 60 conspirators involved in the attack.

The “Ides of March” has been marked in history as the famous day when Caesar met his demise.

Sources: Wikipedia, History.com, National Geographic

 

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Albert Einstein’s Birthday

einstein tongueOn March 14, 1879, Albert Einstein was born at at Ulm, in Württemberg, Germany. Einstein is a theoretical physicist best known for developing the general theory of relativity which is known as one of the two pillars of modern physics.

Einstein was born into a non-practicing Jewish family. His father was a salesman and engineer who founded a company which manufactured electrical equipment and his mother was a housewife. The future physicist attended elementary school in Munich, where he excelled in his studies. He took up violin, and although he was very bright, he had a hard time dealing with the incredibly strict Prussian education he received at school. He also struggled with speech problems. His slow cadence caused him to pause often while speaking to think about what he was going to say next. When he was older, Einstein made note of two events in his childhood that were of significant importance. The first was at age five when he was shown a compass for the first time and was intrigued by the invisible forces that moved the needle. The second was at age 12 when he found a geometry booked and studied it thoroughly.

In the following years, Einstein fell under the tutelage of a family friend and Polish medical student, Max Talmud. Talmud introduced Einstein to more advanced philosophy and mathematics, and Einstein based his first scientific paper, “The Investigation of the State of Aether in Magnetic Fields,” on his findings in a book about light beams and electricity given to him by Talmud.

When his family’s business began to fail in Munich, they moved to Italy, but Einstein was left behind to finish school. Because of his age he was likely to be drafted soon, so he used a doctor’s note to excuse himself from school and followed his family to Italy. His parents became deeply concerned that he would have no employable skills without a formal education, and would possibly face problems for also dodging the draft. Luckily, he was able to enroll in the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zürich, Switzerland as long as he finished his high school education in Switzerland, which he did at age 17.

Einstein liked to study alone while he was in school, and this preference caused him to skip classes and gain unfavorable recognition from some of his professors. One professor he asked for a letter of recommendation wrote such terrible things about Einstein that he was turned down from every academic job he applied for. Because of this and because of his parent’s disapproval of her, Einstein was not able to marry the woman he was in love with, Mileva Maric, for fear that he would not be able to take care of their family life. Luckily, he was able to find a job as a clerk in a patent office, and his father gave Einstein his approval to marry Maric before he died. The two married in 1903, and they had two children together.

While working in the patent office, he had a revelation. One of his jobs was to evaluate patent applications for electromagnetic devices. He began to think deeply on the transmission of electrical signals and electrical-mechanical synchronization. Einstein had studied physicist James Maxwell’s electromagnetic theories on the nature of light, and discovered something even Maxwell hadn’t – that the speed of light remained constant. This thought violated Isaac Newton’s laws of motion and led to Einstein to form the principle of relativity.

einstein backgammon1905 is known as Einstein’s “miracle year.” This is the year when he submitted his doctorate paper and had four papers published in a well-known physics journal. These papers’ subjects were the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, special relativity, and the equivalence of matter and energy. These papers dramatically shaped the course of modern physics and brought Einstein into light in the academic world. “The world’s most famous equation” was first brought up in Einstein’s paper on matter and energy. It foreshadowed the development of nuclear power by suggesting that tiny particles of matter could be converted into huge amounts of energy.

His papers were mostly ignored until he was commended by influential physicist of his generation and founder of quantum theory, Max Planck. He then began receiving invitations to give lectures and was offered positions at many prestigious schools. He accepted a position as the director of the Institute for Physics at the University of Berlin, a position which he held from 1913-1933. His busy schedule took a toll on his marriage and he began having an affair with his cousin, Elsa Löwenthal, who he eventually married. He promised Maric the money he would receive from winning the Nobel Prize, if he ever achieved that honor.

In 1915, Einstein completed his masterpiece – the general theory of relativity. In 1921, he received word that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize, but because relativity was still a controversial topic, he received the award for his explanation of the photoelectric effect.

His world travels became even more extensive and he traveled to countries like Sri Lanka and Japan. Everywhere he lectured, he was greeted like a rock star, with massive crowds gathering to hear him speak. As World War II began and Nazism was prevalent, he moved to the United States to spread pacifism, but also to urge President Roosevelt to begin nuclear bomb construction to beat the Germans to the task. This decision was something he later regretted because of nuclear weapons’ great capacity for destruction.

Einstein became a United States citizen in 1940 and began teaching at Princeton University. He was known during the time for his staunch criticism of racism, stating that it was America’s “worst disease.”

His legacy was so great that even after his death in 1955 at the age of 76, Einstein’s brain was removed by the pathologist to try to understand what made him so intelligent.

Sources: The Telegraph, Biography.com, Wikipedia

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National Coconut Torte Day

coconut torteMarch 13 is National Coconut Torte Day! A torte is a luscious multi-layered cake dessert filled with heavy creams or fruits. You can deduce then that a coconut torte is a multi-layered creamy treat topped with coconut goodness. Yum!

What makes a torte different from a regular cake, you say? Tortes differ from cakes in that they are usually made with very little or no flour. Instead, breadcrumbs or ground nuts take the place of flour as the base and sugar, eggs, and other flavorings are added as well. In between the spongey layers of the torte, you will usually find buttercream, whipped cream, mousse, jam, icing, or fruit. The torte is then typically cooled, glazed and garnished. Because today is National Coconut Torte Day, be sure to top your torte with coconut, and maybe add some to the layers in between for good measure.

To celebrate, try one of these coconut torte recipes below, and add a scoop of ice cream on the side if the torte itself is not enough indulgence for you!

Sources: CNN’s Eatocracy, Examiner.com, Wikipedia

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The Cat in the Hat Published

cat in the hatOn March 12, 1957, children’s story The Cat in the Hat was first published. The story, penned by Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, follows an anthropomorphic cat who wears a red and white hat and a bow tie.

The creation of this famous children’s tale began when William Spaulding, then the director of Houghton Mifflin’s educational division, saw a Life magazine article in 1954 written by John Hersey. The article was called  ”Why Do Students Bog Down on First R? A Local Committee Sheds Light on a National Problem: Reading,” and covered a topic that was a major concern of the time – why children couldn’t read. The conclusion of the article was that most children were bored of the story most used to teach children to read at the time – Dick and Jane. In the article, Spaulding suggested that Dr. Seuss write a new book for children to take interest in. Spaulding was intrigued by the idea and issued it to Dr. Seuss as a challenge.

thing1thing2This challenge spurred Dr. Seuss to write The Cat in the Hat, which went on to become a huge success. Dr. Seuss had achieved considerable fame as a children’s author before this, but The Cat in the Hat put him on the map and made Dr. Seuss a household name. The Cat in the Hat was Seuss’s 13th book, and has since become his most prolific.

The storyline of The Cat in the Hat follows an anthropomorphic cat in a large red and white top hat to the home of two children on a rainy day when their mother is out of the house. The cat brings with him two mischief-making friends named Thing One and Thing Two. The three try to impress the children with their various tricks bringing energy and exuberance into the house on what would’ve been a dreary day. Along with this excitement comes some chaos. The children’s articulate goldfish is vehemently opposed to the behavior of the cat and his friends. The children eventually get things under control, and the cat cleans up the mess he’s made in the house and disappears mere seconds before the children’s mother returns home.

This famous children’s story is not only praised for engaging children and making them want to read, but also is praised from a literary standpoint for its incredible feats in writing. The entire story follows a strict triple meter, keeps a tiny vocabulary that is easily understood by children, and weaves an intriguing tale that doesn’t bore its readers. The story only uses 223 different words, with 33 of these words only occurring twice, and 54 only once.

The Cat in the Hat is the 9th bestselling hardcover children’s book of all time and sold over 7.2 million copies in the United States alone.

Sources: Wikipedia, PBS, Seussipedia, NPR

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Worship of Tools Day

OutsetMarch 11 is Worship of Tools Day! If it weren’t for tools, how would we have built the world around us? Celebrate every tool in its glory today!

We can thank our Neanderthal ancestors for the invention of tools, who used tools made from stone, like hand axes and cleavers, to hunt, kill, and skin their food. They also used tools to carve pictures into stone. Though the origin of this strange holiday remains unknown, we can use this day to appreciate the tools we use regularly use (as well as the ones that are lonely in our toolbox) for all the things they have helped us create, build, and fix over the years.

You can celebrate today by carefully thinking about what needs to be repaired in your life, and showing your tools love by using them to complete these old projects. Even if you don’t have anything that needs to be fixed, you can get crafty and think of a new DIY project to use what tools you have at your disposal. Help others celebrate by buying your loved ones some new tools and helping them take on projects of their own.

Happy Worship of Tools Day!

Sources: Holiday Insights, Examiner.com, Delaware County News Network, Zillow

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Middle Name Pride Day

March 10 is Middle Name Pride Day! This day is meant to celebrate and encourage people to take pride in their often not known and seldom used middle names.

Middle names are given to children by their parents as a way to make their names unique. This holiday was created by a man named Jerry Hill, who thought that by creating this day, he could help those who are ashamed of or hate their middle names to instead embrace their unique middle names and take pride in them.

It just seemed that people can tend to hide a middle name. They might do so for any number of reasons. What MNPD represents is a chance to let a person’s middle name receive the recognition that its giver most likely intended for it.

- Jerry Hill

Parents often pick middle names to honor a family member or friend. Sometimes bolder middle names are given to children if their parents feel the name might not work as a main name. Your middle name is just as much a part of your name and who you are as your first or last name, so even if it is cringe-worthy or strange, today is the day to put your shame aside and shout our your middle name with pride!

If you’re not sure what the origin of your middle name is, then celebrate today by finding out from your parents. The story may be more interesting than you think! You can also celebrate today by calling your friends and having them call you by your middle name. You might learn something new about some of your closest friends that you might not have known otherwise.

Happy Middle Name Pride Day!

Sources: Examiner.com, Holiday Insights, Days of the Year

 

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Barbie Day

barbie calendarOn March 9, 1959, the first Barbie doll was released at the American Toy Fair in New York City. Barbie was the first mass produced doll made in the United States with adult features and has since become a cultural icon as well as a subject of much controversy.

The idea for Barbie came from the mind of Ruth Handler, who co-founded Mattel, Inc. with her husband in 1945. She noticed that her young daughter had stopped playing with her baby dolls in lieu of playing with paper dolls that looked like adults. Handler realized that this specific niche of dolls modeled after adults was something that had yet to be tapped into. Playing with these adult dolls allowed children to imagine the future of themselves as grown-ups.

Barbie’s design and inspiration came from a German doll named Lilli. Lilli was a comic strip character, who was turned into a doll meant to be sold as a gag gift for men sold in tobacco shops. Lilli unexpectedly became a popular toy with children, and Mattel bought the rights to her so that they may create their own version. The name “Barbie” came from Handler’s little girl who was named Barbara. In 1955, Mattel became the first toy company to broadcast commercials targeted at children due to their sponsorship from The Mickey Mouse Club.

After her introduction at the American Toy Fair, and the new use of commercial ads, the popularity of Barbie skyrocketed. The demand for the doll was so great that soon Handler created a boy version of the doll and named it Ken after her son Kenneth.

Along with Barbie’s popularity came a significant amount of controversy. Some thought that Barbie’s mass amounts of material items – her dream house, her multiple cars, and her huge closet of “designer” outfits gave children the idea that being materialistic was a normal and good thing. The thing about Barbie that caused the most outrage though was the size of her waist and breasts which scores of people thought gave children negative views on body image, equating skinny with pretty.

Even with all this criticism though, Barbie has remained a popular and well-known figure in the world of children’s toys and her impact on the toy market is one that will and has go down in history. She has now become a global phenomenon.

Sources: History.com, Wikipedia, dolls4play.com

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