Tag Archives: november

Alfred Anderson Dies

wwiOn November 21, 2005, Alfred Anderson died at age 109. He was Scotland‘s last known World War I veteran, the last member alive of the “Old Contemptibles,” the last known soldier who took part in the 1914 World War I Christmas truce, and Scotland’s oldest man for over a year.

Anderson was born on June 25, 1896, and joined the volunteer reserve of the British Army in 1912 when he was only 16 years old. Unbeknownst to him, he had volunteered to fight on the Western Front, which was where the German Army had invaded France through neutral Belgium shortly after the outbreak of WWI.

On December 24 and 25, 1914, when Anderson was 18 years old, he participated in the Christmas Truce. This odd occurrence involved British and German troops going through a ceasefire and celebrating Christmas in comradery by decorating their trenches, singing carols together, and even participating in soccer games together in the muddy No Man’s Land.  Over 80 years later, Anderson recalled these days saying,

I remember the silence, the eerie sound of silence. All I’d heard for two months in the trenches was the hissing, cracking and whining of bullets in flight, machine-gun fire and distant German voices. But there was a dead silence that morning, right across the land as far as you could see. We shouted ‘Merry Christmas,’ even though nobody felt merry. The silence ended early in the afternoon and the killing started again. It was a short peace in a terrible war.

During the war he was also briefly appointed to be a batman, or personal servant, to Captain Fergus Bowes-Lyon, brother of the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. A brave and calm servant, Anderson would often go into No Man’s Land at night with Bowes-Lyon to listen for enemy activity. He continued to fight in France during the first World War until he was injured by a piece of shrapnel during one of his late-night outings with Bowes-Lyon.

In 1988, Anderson was awarded by the French Legion of Honor along with other WWI veterans who fought on French soil, and he was visited by Prince Charles in 2003 after news that Anderson was batman for the prince’s uncle, Bowes-Lyon, was brought to public attention.

A few weeks after being featured on the BBC One documentary The Last Tommy along with other WWI British Army vets, Anderson died in his sleep in Sweden. At the time of his death, he was the oldest man in Sweden.

Sources: Wikipedia, The New York Times



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G.O. H.A.R.D.

51117_cover“G.O. H.A.R.D.” is the acronym for Globally Organized Hug a Runner Day which is celebrated today, November 20! G.O. H.A.R.D. was inspired by a Facebook event called, “National Hug a Cross Country Runner Day” created by Michaela McGuigan on November 20, 2009. The Facebook event showed a whopping 42,000 attendees.

Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano, running aficionados and creators of Run the Edge, took inspiration from Michaela’s event and ran with it (pun intended)! They created Globally Organized Hug a Runner Day to include runners all over the world of all ages, sizes, genders, ethnicities, speeds, and styles of running. The first annual G.O. H.A.R.D. took place 2 years after the original event on November 20, 2011 and has been going hard ever since. With the motto “Share the Sweat,” Goucher and Catalano have even created a Hug a Runner Day training guide which includes the following:

  • Interval Hugging: Try both long and short intervals and don’t forget to change leads with your hugging partners so everybody gets a chance to set the pace. We recommend starting with 10 X 40-second hugs with ample recovery. More experienced huggers may want to cut down on the rest between hugs.

  • Long Slow Hugs: This should be a staple of your training program. Set aside time twice a week to share a hug lasting several minutes. Up to 20% of your weekly hugging time can be spent in a single hug. Be sure to choose your LSH partners carefully because this kind of training might scare off newcomers.

  • Speed Hugging: Don’t overdo this especially if you are not already an experienced hugger. Speed training is important but can lead to injury if huggers try to do too much too soon.

  • Hug Visualization: To be at your best you must prepare mentally. In order to be ready for anything, make sure to visualize hugging runners of all sizes, genders, ages, and ethnicities. Unlike in running, we do not recommend hug visualization (HV) while engaged in interval hugging (IH), speed hugging (SH), or Long Slow Hugging (LSH). Leave hug visualization to moments when you are alone.

  • Cross Training: Running couples may want to engage in some “cross training” activities. In fact some of the above workouts (especially the LSH) can lead to cross training. While not necessary, these activities can add a little spice to the day-to-day grind.

If you would like to celebrate Hug a Runner Day, make sure you hug as many runners as possible or organize a group hug with some of your running buddies. Also be sure to join the Hug a Runner Day Facebook event on the Run the Edge Facebook page and check out the pages they suggest to follow for special Hug a Runner Day giveaways!

Sources: Run the Edge, Facebook, headinthegame.net

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Calvin Klein’s Birthday

calvinkleinToday is American fashion designer, Calvin Klein’s birthday. Klein launched his brand in 1968 and has expanded into an internationally-known label which produces clothing, perfumes, and accessories for men and women.

Klein was born in 1942 in the New York City borough of the Bronx. He held an interest in sketching fashion designs when he was younger and attended the High School of Art and Design before studying briefly at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. To concentrate more on developing his design skills by working in the industry, Klein left school and began an apprenticeship with

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National Apple Cider Day

appleciderpuzzleNovember 18 is National Apple Cider Day! Apple cider is a raw unfiltered, unsweetened, non-alcoholic drink made from apples. Apple cider can be differentiated from apple juice in that apple juice is typically filtered to take out apple particles, pasteurized to maximize shelf-life, and sugar and water are often added to the beverage. Because of its limited shelf-life, untreated cider has become a seasonal beverage produced mostly in fall and winter months, making it a popular holiday beverage.

Apples are not a fruit native to the North American continent. After finding only inedible crab apples on the continent, apple seeds were brought to America by colonial settlers from England in the 17th century. The first apple orchard in North America was planted in Boston in 1625. Seeds from Europe were cultivated on Colonial farms as well as spread throughout Native American trade routes. John Chapman, known by many as “Johnny Appleseed,” traveled ahead of western-bound settlers in America and began to plant small cider apple orchards across the Midwest.

Cider can be enjoyed cold or “mulled” by making the cider hot and adding spices like clove and cinnamon. If you would like to celebrate Apple Cider Day, try some of these great recipes!

Happy Apple Cider Day!

Sources: Wikipedia, Almanac of Eats, Serious Eats


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Take a Hike Day

The Appalachian Trail is known as one of the best hiking spots in the U.S.

The Appalachian Trail is known as one of the best hiking spots in the U.S.

November 17 is Take a Hike Day! We’re not sure how Take a Hike Day came to be, but you can celebrate by meandering through your favorite nature spot, or by telling someone to “get lost” – whichever you prefer.

Hiking refers to walking in nature for recreational purposes, typically in a place that is scenic. This outdoor recreational activity has been known to have many health benefits including improving cardio-respiratory fitness, improving muscular fitness, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, weight loss, and improving mental health. Day hiking refers to hiking which can be completed within a single day, while backpacking is the term used for multi-day hikes which include camping in between. In more densely forested areas where vegetation must be cleared while taking your hike is called bushwhacking.

If you’re planning on going on a hike today make sure you bring these hiking essentials: water (to prevent possible dehydration), food, a map, a compass, and a backpack to carry any other items you may need. Comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots are a must as well! A hiking club known as The Mountaineers recommends bringing the Ten Essentials with you which also includes other survival items like a flashlight, a knife, and a first aid kit.

To see the 10 Best Hiking Spots in the United States, go here!

If you’d rather avoid nature and tell someone who’s annoying you to, “Take a hike!” then all we have to say is try not to be TOO mean about it…

Happy Take a Hike Day!

Sources: Holiday Insights, National Whatever Day, Wikipedia, Good Hiker.com

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Have a Party With Your Bear Day

Charlie Bear Plush - CALENDARS.COM

Charlie Bear Plush – CALENDARS.COM

November 16 is Have a Party With Your Bear Day! Though the origin of Have a Party With Your Bear Day is unknown, we speculate from our research that the date came from when a cartoon featuring President Teddy Roosevelt (whom the Teddy bear was named after) refusing to shoot a bear on a hunting trip was published in The Washington Post on November 16,1902. Today is not the only bear holiday out there. Teddy Bear Day was September 9, Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day was October 11, Teddy Bear Picnic Day was July 10, and lest we forget one of the most famous bears out there – Winnie the Pooh Day was January 18. It’s about time we celebrated our bear love again!

If you would like to have a party with your bear today, we’ve come up with a few different ways you can!

  1. Throw a special tea party just for your teddy bear. Time to make that little guy the guest of honor.
  2. Watch some television shows or movies featuring of your favorite celebearties together – Winnie the Pooh, Fozzie Bear, or Yogi Bear, just to name a few!
  3. Listen to and dance to Elvis’ “Teddy Bear” with your teddy bear!

This day isn’t just limited to celebrating your stuffed friend though! You can also:

  1. Visit your local zoo or animal sanctuary and see some real life bears.
  2. It’s football season, so if you’re a Chicago Bears fan, take a look at their schedule and celebrate by watching a game!

However you decide to celebrate, we hope you have a bear-y good day!

Sources: Wikipedia, Holiday Insights, A Year of Holidays


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Johannes Kepler Dies

Johannes Kepler Kopie eines verlorengegangenen Originals von 1610On November 15, 1630, German mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer Johannes Kepler died in Regensburg, Germany. He is best known for his laws of planetary motion which influenced Isaac Newton‘s theory of universal gravitation.

Kepler was born in Weil der Stadt, Württemberg on December 27, 1571. His father was a mercenary who left his family when Kepler was five years old. His mother was an herbalist and healer who was tried for witchcraft later in her life. Kepler took an interest in mathematics and astronomy as a child, and these interests stuck with him throughout the rest of his life. In 1589, he received a scholarship to study theology at the University of Tübingen. While attending school, he studied under Michael Maestlin who was an advocate of the Copernican Theory, which stated that the sun was the center of the solar system rather than Earth. Nearly all scholars at this time still believed the rest of the solar system revolved around Earth. Though he had originally intended to be a minister, at the end of his studies, he was offered a position as a mathematics and astronomy teacher at Graz.

While teaching at Graz, Kepler wrote Mysterium Cosmographicum, an outspoken astronomical defense of the Copernican System and heliocentrism. During the Catholic Counter-Reformation, Kepler, who was Lutheran, was forced to leave. He moved to Prague where he began to work with renowned astronomer Tycho Brahe. Brahe had both the most exact measuring instruments and the most exact empiric data of his time, and from this data Kepler discovered that the orbit of Mars was an ellipse. He noted his discoveries in Astronomia Nova, which details his first two laws of planetary motion. This work was also the first time a scientist documented how to form an extremely accurate theory using imperfect data. This is known today as the scientific method.

In 1612, Kepler moved to Linz where he again became a teacher and astrological and astronomical adviser. He published Harmonice Mundi in 1619 in which he explained the astronomical and astrological proportions of the natural world in terms of music. He also explained what would come to be known as the third law of planetary motion.

During his lifetime, Kepler was never famous, but his articulations of the astrological and astronomical world led to many other great scientific discoveries that better allow us to understand the way the universe works. Suffering a fever, he died in Regensburg, Germany on November 15, 1630.

Sources: Wikipedia, Famous Scientists, kepler.nasa.gov, einstein-website.de


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National Spicy Guacamole Day

Spicy-GuacamoleNovember 14 is Spicy Guacamole Day! Guacamole is an avocado-based dip or sauce that typically consists of mashed avocados and is mixed with various ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, lime juice, and spices. Guacamole has become so popular that you can celebrate it on TWO days! There is also a National Guacamole Day on September 16.

Guacamole was originally created in the 16th century by Aztecs in Mesoamerica. In their dialect, the dish was called āhuacamolli which translates to “avocado sauce.” Guacamole became a popular dish in Mexico since then, and avocados were introduced to the United States in 1871 by Judge R.B. Ord who planted three trees in Santa Barbara, California. Mexico is still the world’s top producer of avocados, but California is a close second. The most popular avocado in the United States is the Hass avocado, and 95% of them are grown in California. Contrary to popular belief, avocados are actually a fruit, and contain the highest amount of protein of any fruit and have more potassium than bananas. They also contain about 20 vitamins and minerals and monosaturated fats which are “good fats” that have been known to help manage cholesterol and heart problems in place of saturated fats.

The first recipes for guacamole appeared in recipe books in the 1940s, but it didn’t gain popularity in America until the 1970s. To celebrate today and make your own spicy guacamole, be sure to add chile peppers to your original recipe for a kick! If you don’t have a recipe of your own, check out these delicious recipes:

Sources: TortillaLand, Wikipedia


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Holland Tunnel Opens

HollandTunnelOpenOn November 13, 1927, the Holland Tunnel, which goes under the Hudson River and connects Manhattan with Jersey City, New Jersey, was opened to the public. As the first vehicular crossing across the Hudson River, it is considered an outstanding engineering achievement.

Most American public works projects are named after a historical figure, government official, or local hero, but because the Holland Tunnel was such an amazing engineering feat, the tunnel was named for its first chief engineer, Clifford Holland. He unfortunately died before the tunnel’s completion. For centuries, the only way to cross the lower Hudson River was by ferry. In the first decade of the 20th century, several tunnels were constructed under the Hudson River for trains to connect major stations in Manhattan in New Jersey. Because of the completion of these tunnels and the rise in automobile usage, interest began to peak in making a tunnel for vehicular passage across the Hudson. Originally, a bridge was going to be built over the river, but this idea was abandoned in favor of a tunnel for cost reasons.

The biggest challenge in building a tunnel for automobiles under the river was how to properly ventilate it. Underwater tunnels were already a well-developed part of civil engineering, but since this was a tunnel for automobiles, carbon monoxide emissions produced by cars could be deadly to drivers if there was not proper ventilation in the tunnel. One of the tunnel’s chief engineers, Ole Singstad proposed building a circular tunnel with automatic ventilation buildings on both sides. The completed tunnel contained four ventilation buildings with 84 fans providing a change of air every 90 seconds. This revolutionary engineering feat made the Holland Tunnel the first underwater tunnel for automobiles with a ventilation system. Some members of the press proclaimed that the quality of air in the tunnel was better than air on some New York City streets. Engineering techniques used in the building of the Holland Tunnel are still the basis for building underwater tunnels all over the world today.

In 1984, the Holland Tunnel was made a National Historic Civil and Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil and Mechanical Engineers. And in 1993, the U.S. Department of the Interior made the tunnel a National Historic Landmark.

Sources: Wikipedia, Port Authority of NY & NJ History


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Song of the South Released

song-of-the-south-poster-sizedOn November 12, 1946, Disney movie Song of the South premiered at Fox Theater in Atlanta. The film features Uncle Remus, an African American former slave, recounting the misadventures of Br’er Rabbit and his friends to a group of children. The film has been controversial since its release because of its depiction of race relations. Because of this, it has never been released in its entirety on home video in the United States.

The Disney company was suffering after disappointing box office returns from Pinocchio and Fantasia (both released in 1940), so Walt Disney began to brainstorm something that would be technically innovative and inexpensive to make. In 1939, Disney had negotiated the rights to the plantation-set Uncle Remus stories by Joel Chandler Harris. The film revolves around Johnny, a young white boy, who moves to his grandparents’ plantation after his parents split up and becomes enthralled by the fables told by Uncle Remus, an African-American servant who also lives on the plantation. His fables follow the adventures of Br’er Rabbit who constantly outwits Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear.

At the movie’s premiere in Atlanta, Walt Disney introduced the film and the cast, but retreated to his hotel room across the street because he did not want to hear any unexpected reactions from the audience. It is rumored that James Baskett, who played Uncle Remus, did not attend the premiere because Atlanta was still racially segregated at this point.

Although the movie made a small profit in the box offices, it has become revered as the black sheep of the Disney family of movies for its handling of race and the critical response it received after its release. Many critics praised it for being artistically beautiful for combining animation with live action, but thought the depiction of African American plantation life was cliched, offensive, and Uncle TomishThe New York Times‘ Bosley Crowther wrote that the movie was a “travesty on the antebellum South.”

Despite its critical response, the film received an Academy Award from the wildly popular song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” and the story’s characters still live on in the Disney theme park ride Splash Mountain which features Br’er Rabbit and company as well as music from the film.

Petitions and fan sites have been created supporting the re-release of Song of the South, but Disney representatives have stated on several occasions that the movie is antiquated and fairly offensive so this is not likely. Clips from the movie have been released on Disney compilations, but the full movie has never been released on video in the United States. Out-of-print international versions of the movie have sold online for as much as $100.

Sources: Wikipedia, IMDB, Slate.com

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