Museum Comes to Life Day

There’s no better day to take a trip to the museum than June 24, Museum Comes to Life Day.

On Museum Comes to Life Day, you just might catch an Ancient Egyptian mummy rise from its tomb or feel the ground shake beneath the stampede of elephants, and…did Mona Lisa just wink at you? You never know what will happen when a museum comes to life…so make sure you stay away from the dinosaur exhibit.

Celebrate Museum Comes to Life Day by spending the day at any museum – art, history, science, children’s, space…whichever museum features exhibits you’d most like to see come to life.

Check out Travel and Leisure’s list of the World’s Most-Visited Museums for inspiration.

If the museum of your choice fails to come to life, you can always spend the evening watching Night at the Museum – make it a double feature with Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian!

 

Source: The Ultimate Holiday Site, Almanac of Miscellaneous Merriment 

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National Doctor’s Day

Medical Cartoons 2015 box.inddMarch 30 is National Doctor‘s Day! This day is meant to recognize and honor physicians for their contributions to society and the field of medicine and their help in keeping us all healthy and happy.

National Doctor’s Day was first celebrated in Widner, Georgia on March 30, 1933, and was created by Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond. This date was chosen because it is the anniversary of the first use of general anesthetia in surgery. Dr. Crawford Long used ether to remove a tumor from a patient’s neck in Jefferson, Georgia on March 30, 1842. As part of the celebration on the very first Doctor’s Day, The Barrow County (Georgia) Medical Society Auxiliary mailed cards to physicians and their wives and placed flowers on the graves of deceased doctors.

The United States House of Representatives adopted a Resolution Commemorating Doctor’s Day on March 30, 1958. Years later in 1990, the House and the Senate developed legislation to establish a national Doctor’s Day. By October of that year, the approval by the House and the Senate was overwhelming, and on October 30, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed S.J. RES. #366, officially declaring March 30 “National Doctor’s Day.”

Doctor’s Day is and can be commemorated in a variety of ways today. Many employers and hospitals celebrate today by showing their admiration and respect for doctors by hosting luncheons and giving gifts to doctors on their staff. Greeting card companies have even taken note of this national holiday, and you can find cards made especially for this day. Make sure your local health professionals do not go unnoticed today and do something nice for those who help keep your community healthy. Whether it’s buying them a gift or simply telling them how much you appreciate their services to your community, be sure to show your gratitude!

Happy Doctor’s Day!

Sources: About.com, DoctorsDay.org, Hallmark, Huffington Post

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Lemon Chiffon Cake Day

Slice-of-Lemon-Chiffon-Cake-2-e1363107867246March 29 is Lemon Chiffon Cake Day! This tasty dessert has a lighter-than-air texture not found in most cakes with the addition of zesty lemon flavor – yum!

Chiffon cake was the invention of a former insurance salesman named Harry Baker, who turned to catering and concocted the cake recipe in 1927. He began selling his chiffon-like creations to the Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles, and pretty soon all of Hollywood was swooning over his cakes and their fluffy texture. Baker kept the recipe a secret for 20 years before finally selling it to General Mills, who own the Betty Crocker brand. General Mills then published the recipe for the newly named “Chiffon Cake” in Better Homes & Gardens in 1948, marketing it as “the first new cake in 100 years.”

The cake skyrocketed in popularity and it’s secret to fluffiness was finally revealed – Baker had used vegetable oil instead of butter to get the light airy texture everyone loved. Using vegetable oil, combined with eggs, sugar, flour, and baking powder, chiffon cake takes on a structure which is a combination of batter and foam cakes. It is left with a moist texture that stays at it’s best when refrigerated, meaning you can amp up the flavor with the addition of fresh fruit, ice cream, or pastry cream.

Because of their lack of butter, chiffon cakes are inherently lower in saturated fat than regular batter cakes. The lack of butter also contributes to chiffon cakes being less rich in flavor, so compensations are usually made by the addition of icings and other toppings and fillings.

If you would like to celebrate today, here are a few recipes we found for some deliciously tart and fluffy lemon chiffon cakes:

Sources: CNN’s Eatocracy, Punchbowl, Foodimentary

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Lady Gaga’s Birthday

gaga terry richardson bookMarch 28 is Lady Gaga‘s birthday! Lady Gaga is a pop star, fashion icon, and political activist best known for hit singles like “Just Dance,” “Poker Face,” “Bad Romance,” “Born This Way,” and more recently “Applause.”

Lady Gaga was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germonatta in 1986 in New York City. Her father, Joe Germanotta, was an internet entrepreneur, so Gaga grew up affluently, living on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. When she was younger, she attended New York’s Convent of the Sacred Heart, a private all-girls Roman Catholic school which saw other famous alumni pass through such as socialite Paris Hilton. When Gaga later reminisced of her time at the school, she claims she never fit in and always “felt like a freak.” In spite of this, Gaga had a theatrical high school career in which she starred as the lead in school productions like Guys and Dolls.

The lady’s love affair with music started at the age of 4, when she taught herself how to play piano by ear. By age 13, she had written her first piano ballad, and by 14 she was performing at open mic nights in the city with the accompaniment of her mother. Recognizing her daughter’s talents both academically and musically, Gaga’s mother convinced her to apply for the prestigious Collaborative Arts Project 21 at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Gaga was one of only twenty-one students to be accepted for early admission to the program when she was 17. While enrolled in the program, Gaga honed her songwriting skills, while also completing other academic essays and projects on art, religion, social issues and politics.

Feeling stifled and as though she could teach herself more about music than the CAP21 program could, Gaga dropped out of school in the middle of her sophomore year, deciding to focus on developing her music career. Her father made an agreement with her to pay her rent for a year while she focused on her creative interests, under the condition that she re-enroll in Tisch if her efforts were unsuccessful. It was during this time that the soon-to-be star took on several different musical endeavors. For a short period of time, she fronted the Stefani Germonatta Band (SGBand), and was scouted for a new project music producer Rob Fusari was working on which required a female vocalist.

Stefani, as she was still then known, began recording with Fusari, and soon her stage name “Lady Gaga” was accidentally coined through an autocorrect texting error made by Fusari when he was trying to type “Radio Ga Ga.” His phone corrected “radio” to “lady.” The hit song by Queen had become the singer’s “theme song” when she entered the studio every day. When Gaga received the text from Fusari, she replied with, “That’s it. Don’t ever call me Stefani again.”

After recording a series of electropop tracks with Fusari, Gaga was signed to Def Jam records, but was dropped a few months later. Devastated by this blow to her musical reputation, Gaga returned to the underground scene of New York City’s Lower East Side which she had previously made a name for herself in with the SGBand. She began performing neo-burlesque go-go dance shows in Lower East Side clubs. She soon befriended and began performing with Lady Starlight, who helped her experiment with wild costuming and helped mold her on-stage persona. The two performed their “Ultimate Pop Burlesque Rockshow” in which they lit cans of hairspray on fire in between Gaga singing pop songs and Starlight spinning heavy metal and glam records at 2007′s Lollapalooza. Their performance received positive reviews and music producer Vincent Herbert quickly signed Gaga to Streamline Records, a subsidiary of Interscope. Gaga soon began working as a songwriter, writing songs for the likes of Britney Spears, Fergie, and New Kids on the Block. Singer-songwriter Akon recognized Gaga’s vocal abilities and signed her to his Interscope label Kon Live.

lady gaga paper dollThroughout 2007 and 2008, Gaga began recording her first album, The Fame. Though slow to start, the album received positive reviews and commercial success. Her debut single, “Just Dance,” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Dance Recording, but lost to Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” Gaga began developing her own creative team, the Haus of Gaga, based on Andy Warhol‘s Factory. Her second single “Poker Face” experienced even more critical and commercial acclaim, topping singles charts in almost every country.

Gaga supported her new record by touring in Europe and in small gay clubs in the United States, as well as opening for New Kids on the Block during their reunion tour before eventually embarking on her own Fame Ball Tour. While touring for The Fame, she began writing the EP The Fame Monster, which explored the darker side of her new-found fame. From this was born one of her most iconic singles, “Bad Romance.” It was also during this time that she further developed and was both scrutinized and praised for her highly eccentric and avant-garde fashion choices. She embarked on The Monster Ball World Tour in 2009, and performed sold-out shows to audiences across the world until 2011. The tour grossed over $227 million, and became one of the highest-grossing and critically acclaimed tours of all time, producing an HBO documentary of her Madison Square Garden performance which won several Emmy awards.

2011 also saw the release of Gaga’s next album, Born This Way. Though it received more critical reviews because of it’s reference to religion, sexuality, and politics in many songs, Born This Way still sold over 1 million copies in its first week in the United States and received three Grammy nominations. Scheduled to go on another two-year world tour, Gaga’s Born This Way Ball was cut short when she injured herself too badly to perform anymore and underwent surgery.

Her injury did not set her back however, and she began working on her next album, Artpop, which was released in November 2013. Gaga has already had two hit singles from the album, “Applause” and “Do What U Want” featuring R. Kelly. She is planning her next world tour, and also made her silver screen debut in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills, though the film did not receive much positive press. The pop star is slated to make another appearance in Rodriguez’s next Sin City film, and is working on a jazz album with Tony Bennett. Gaga is also going to perform the first ever concert in space as part of a three-day music festival called Zero G Colony.

Though she started out playing small shows in New York City’s underground arena, Gaga has risen to a level of international stardom few have achieved.

Sources: IMDB, Biography.com, Wikipedia

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National “Joe” Day

gijoeMarch 27 is National “Joe” Day! Since the list of obscure and ridiculous holidays keeps growing (seriously – yesterday was “Make Up Your Own Holiday Day“), why not add another silly day to the mix to celebrate anyone or anything with the name Joe?

The origins of this weird holiday are unknown, but we’re going to take a wild guess and say that someone named Joe probably invented it. The name “Joe” likely came from the Scottish word jo or joe, which means “sweetheart.” Since then, Joe has also come to mean a regular guy or everyday average man. The first documented usage of the name Joe was in 1846, and Joseph was a popular name for babies in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Use of the word “joe” in common phrases is thought to have started in the 1930s. In 1935, “G.I.” was used to denote “Government Issue,” and soon became a common term used to refer to lower ranking soldiers. “G.I. Joe” first appeared in Private Breger comic strips and was then used to describe the average soldier. The character soon became popular and was used in a cartoon series and then later took on action figure form. Joe can also refer to a cup of coffee i.e. “cup of joe.” Customers began using this phrase in the 1940s when ordering coffee. It’s likely that “joe” is a derivative of java or jamoke, which are other terms used to describe coffee.

woodstock-snoopy-joe-coolOver the years there have been several other well-known Joes in popular culture, but probably one of the most beloved is Snoopy the dog’s alter ego “Joe Cool.” When Snoopy would slip on a pair of sunglasses and walk on two legs, he was suddenly transformed into “Joe Cool.” There was even a song recorded for the Peanuts character called “Joe Cool” by B.B. King.

Whether you do something special for your friend named Joe, rename yourself Joe for the day, enjoy a nice hot cup of joe, buy a G.I. Joe, or watch your favorite Peanuts shows or movies featuring Snoopy as Joe Cool, there are plenty of ways to celebrate today. Happy National “Joe” Day!

Sources: AnythingArts.com, Yahoo News, Examiner.com

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Walt Whitman Dies

Whitman_at_about_fiftyOn March 26, 1892, American poet and journalist Walt Whitman died. Considered one of America’s most influential poets, Whitman was known as the “Bard of Democracy,” with a writing career that spanned 50 years.

Whitman was born to a family of modest means on Long Island in 1819. It is thought that Whitman’s love for democracy and Americana stemmed from the beliefs of his parents, who named his younger brothers respectively George Washington Whitman, Thomas Jefferson Whitman, and Andrew Jackson Whitman. Thinking he could capitalize on the economic growth of New York City, Whitman’s father moved their family to Brooklyn when Whitman was only three. By age 11, Whitman was pulled out of school to work and help support his family by his father who had struggled to make ends meet.

He worked for several different newspapers learning about their printing presses and typesetting for many years. When he was 17, Whitman became a teacher on Long Island, a job he stayed at for a few years until founding his own newspaper, the Long Islander. He soon sold the newspaper and moved to New York City where he became editor of a few different newspapers including the Brooklyn Eagle. He was eventually fired from his job there for taking the “radical” or more liberal side on certain issues like women’s rights, immigration, and labor issues. He moved to New Orleans and became an editor of a paper there for a short time where he saw the horrific nature of slavery and the slave trade in the South.

In 1850, he began writing his most well-known work, Leaves of Grass. In the 12 unnamed poems, he finally began to find his true voice as a writer. Whitman paid for the first printing of the collection of poems himself, printing 795 copies. Poetic norms were let go in Leaves of Grass, and Whitman wrote using free verse and discarded traditional rhyming methods. No one paid much attention to Whitman’s first version of his now famous work, with the exception of fellow poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, who called the work “the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom” to come from an American poet. Whitman would revise the work for the rest of his life, and the second edition was brought to the attention of writers Henry David Thoreau and Bronson Alcott by Emerson, who both visited Whitman at his home.

When his third edition was ready to print, it seemed to be more commercially promising, but the beginning of the Civil War forced Whitman’s publisher to go out of business. Whitman then moved to Washington to care for his brother who had been wounded in the war. He began volunteering to visit wounded soldiers, which became a life-changing experience for the writer. He stayed in Washington for several years and found stable work with the Indian Bureau of the Department of the Interior.

The writer’s life took a turn for the worst in 1873 when he suffered the first of many strokes, which he called “whacks,” that left him partially paralyzed. That same year, he returned home to visit his sick mother, who died three days after his arrival. Feeling weak himself and unable to continue working his job in Washington, Whiman moved in with his brother in Camden, New Jersey. His 1882 edition of Leaves of Grass received good reviews and made Whitman enough money that he was able to purchase his own house in Camden.

In his last few years alive, Whitman began to receive much recognition for his work, but he was not happy with the state of American after the Civil War. Leaves of Grass had gone through seven editions and now contained around 300 poems. On March 26, 1892, Whitman died at his home in Camden at the age of 72. He was buried at Camden’s Harleigh Cemetery. Though Whitman is now known as one of the greatest poets in American history, he never felt he was accepted by his country. He once wrote, ”The proof of a poet is that his country absorbs him as affectionately as he has absorbed it. I have not gain’d the acceptance of my time.”

Sources: Biography.com, Shmoop, Wikipedia, PBS

 

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John Lennon and Yoko Ono Start Their “Bed-In”

bed in

John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their hotel room at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.

On March 25, 1969, John Lennon and his new wife, Yoko Ono, staged their first “Bed-In For Peace.” These “Bed-Ins,” based on sit-in protests, were meant to be experimental tests to promote peace and protest war. Lennon and Ono spent their honeymoon in Amsterdam, 5 days after their wedding, sitting in their hotel room bed, discussing peace while the press was allowed to come in to their room to ask questions and take photographs of the famous couple.

The couple knew their marriage would be a high profile event that the press would latch on to, so they took this publicity opportunity to convey to the world their thoughts on peace. Starting on March 25, and lasting an entire week until March 31, Lennon and Ono took up residence in the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel’s Room 902, spending the entire time in their bed and allowing press to visit from 9 AM – 9 PM daily. Because Lennon and Ono were known for previous lascivious public images of themselves they had used as promotional material, most of the press expected something lewd upon visiting the hotel room of the two stars. Instead, they found Lennon and Ono in their pajamas, comfortably sitting up in their hotel bed with signs that read “Hair Peace” and “Bed Peace” above them. The two discussed their visions of world peace with the press and their opposition to the Vietnam War and the Cold War.

Most of the press that covered this protest/performance “peace” did not take it seriously, but Lennon insisted that that was exactly what Ono and he wanted. “It’s part of our policy not to be taken seriously. Our opposition, whoever they may be, in all manifest forms, don’t know how to handle humour. And we are humorous,” said Lennon.

Seven days later, the couple flew to Vienna, Austria where they held a press conference to discuss Bagism, which was a term created by Lennon and Ono to satirize prejudice and stereotyping. Bagism literally involved encapsulating oneself in a bag, so that no judgement about the outward appearance of a person could be made, and people could only judge someone by the vocal messages they conveyed. It was viewed as a form of total communication.

The Amsterdam Bed-In was not the only one performed by Lennon and Ono. In May of 1969, the couple again reenacted their previous peaceful form of protest in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. It was here that they recorded “Give Peace a Chance” with other notable individuals. Later that year, they further publicly spread their message of peace by displaying on billboards in 11 major American cities, “WAR IS OVER! If You Want It – Happy Christmas From John and Yoko”. A documentary film made of the two’s Bed-Ins can be watched here.

The impact made by Lennon and Ono’s Bed Ins has been seen in the several popular culture references made about the peaceful protests, and protest groups and artists around the world have reenacted the famous “peace” since the 1960s.

Sources: Wikipedia, TIME, The Guardian, NPR

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Chocolate Covered Raisin Day

loose_raisins_600_2March 24 is Chocolate Covered Raisin Day! Chocolate covered raisins combine sundried grape morsels with milk, dark, or white chocolate to make a seemingly healthy and sweet snack treat.

The discovery of raisins is believed by culinary historians to have come about when people noticed grapes drying out while they were on the vine. They soon became the second most popular food sweetener after honey. Exactly when these sundried sweet fruits were combined with chocolate is unknown, but a popular German folk tale referencing a ”wenig Schokolade Ball,” or little chocolate ball is thought to be the first reference to the treat.

In 1927, the Blumenthal Chocolate Company created Raisinets, which were the earliest and most popular brands of chocolate-covered raisins. The brand was acquired by Nestle in 1984, and became a popular movie theater snack and the number one bestselling candy in United States history.

Raisins are an excellent source fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, and certain B vitamins. By adding a layer of dark chocolate to the outside of the raisin, you can add to the sweet treats health benefits because dark chocolate contains antioxidants and important minerals. Since there is also a fair amount of sugar in these treats though, be careful with how many consume! Unless you want a mouth full of cavities as well…

Don’t worry about those pesky side effects today though. Indulge and celebrate today by eating a handful (or two) of delicious chocolate covered raisins!

Sources: Punchbowl, National Day Calendar, Wikipedia

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Elizabeth Taylor Dies

oTTo_WatsonOn March 23, 2011, actress Elizabeth Taylor died. Taylor was best known for her role in the Golden Era of Hollywood, starring in popular movies such as A Place in the Sun, Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, BUtterfield 8 and Cleopatra. Later in her life, she became an advocate for HIV and AIDS awareness and research.

Taylor was born to two American parents in London, England in 1932. They soon returned to the United States and settled in Los Angeles where people began to encourage Taylor’s mother, who was a former actress, to screen test her daughter because of her incredible beauty. The idea of a child star was something very foreign to Taylor’s mother, and she refused to allow her daughter to be a part of the industry until both Universal Pictures and MGM were offering Taylor contracts. After starring in a Lassie film, she was offered a long-term contract with MGM starting in 1943. Her breakout role came the next year when the 12-year-old starred in National Velvet.

As she grew older, instead of fading out of the spotlight like most child actors of the time, her star only began to shine brighter. Because of her incredible beauty, she became known as a sex symbol and a quintessential part of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She starred in many films during this time starting most notably with Father of the Bride alongside Spencer Tracy, and moving on to other big hits like Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Cleopatra (which cost around $37 million to make). She later starred in two movies which she received Academy Awards for – BUtterfield 8 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 

Taylor’s acting career was not the only thing that kept her in the spotlight. Ever since the age of 18, Taylor’s personal life had been a roller coaster, and in her lifetime she was married a total of eight times, with most of these marriages being short-lived. Her most well-known love affair was with Richard Burton, whom she first met on the set of Cleopatra and subsequently married and divorced twice. Their relationship was passionate and volatile, and Burton once said of it, ”You can’t keep clapping a couple of sticks [of dynamite] together without expecting them to blow up.”

Also known for her love of jewelry, Taylor’s jewelry collection was estimated to be worth $150 million at the time of her death. She owned some of the most famous jewelry pieces in the world, including the Krupp Diamond, and the Taylor-Burton Diamond – both bought for her by Richard Burton. She also possessed the La Peregrina Pearl, which has a history spanning 500 years.

In her later years, she took on acting roles less and instead focused more on her philanthropic efforts. When her lifelong friend, Rock Hudson, died in 1985 after battling HIV/AIDS, she started to bring the disease to national attention by helping to found the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. She also started her own jewelry and perfume lines as part of her own entrepreneurial efforts.

In the 1990s, she had mostly retired from the world of acting and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 1993. In 2000, she was honored again, but this time by the country she was born in when she became a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE). By this time her health had begun to decline and she suffered from diabetes, congestive heart failure, had both hips replaced, and had a brain tumor removed. It is reported that she went through over 30 surgeries. She was admitted into Cedars-Sinai Hospital for congestive heart failure in February 2011, and died on March 23, 2011.

Years earlier, in an interview with Barbara Walters, the reporter asked Taylor how she would like to be remembered after she was gone. She said she would like her tombstone to read, “‘Here lies Liz. She lived,’” before admitting, “No, I don’t like ‘Liz.’ I hate that name. ‘Here lies Elizabeth. She hated being called Liz. But she lived.’”

Sources: Wikipedia, ABC News, Biography.com

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National Goof Off Day

GoofsNSpoofsFILMMarch 22 is National Goof Off Day! Today should be a day of no work, and all play! Let go of your responsibilities and embrace a life of carefree silliness.

We’re not sure who created this brilliant holiday, but we love them regardless. Have you been hard at work with your eyes burning from being glued to a computer screen or has your nose buried in a textbook? Have you spent hours doing demanding physical labor? Have you been sitting in an office, a classroom, or a library for just a tad too long? Whatever stress your job or life entails, it’s time to let go of it all and do something completely irresponsible, but 100% fun! You deserve a day to unwind and act silly, irrational, and do something that will amuse your tired self.

What can you do on this, the goofiest of days? We’ve come up with a little list for you!

  • If you’re at work or school, goof off by playing a practical joke or prank on one of your classmates or co-workers! Just make sure they know it’s all in good fun.
  • Instead of straining your eyes doing work on your computer, why not take some time out to play a computer game? You can find TONS here!
  • Is that textbook you’re studying a total snooze fest? While you’re at the library, why not pick up something to read for pleasure instead? There’s nothing better than diving into a great new book!
  • Sitting inside all the time can be stuffy and confining – venture outside today! Go to your favorite park, take a walk, or even a bike ride around your favorite parts of the city you live in.
  • If you’re getting a little too tired of the town or city you live in, talk some of your best friends to going on a day trip to another nearby town or city with you, or take a nice relaxing drive to somewhere new on your own.
  • Don’t just limit yourself to the car either – take a train, plane, or even boat to somewhere new!

These are just a few suggestions, and we’re sure there’s plenty more you’ve been wanting to do today stored up in your brain. Sift through those stored away fun times, and let loose! There is no better day than today to let your inner wild child loose!

Sources: Holiday Insights, Examiner.com, Yahoo News

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