Monday, March 25, 2013

Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” 
― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars

Today’s food holidays are: Pecan Day, International Waffle Day, Pancake day and Lobster Newburg Day.

Lobster Newburg is an American seafood dish made with lobster, butter, cream, cognac, sherry, eggs and cayenne pepper. It is an elegant and special dish enjoyed by many since the late 1800′s. Debuting in 1876 at a fine New York restaurant, Delmonico’s, this dish was invented by sea captain Ben Wenburg. He demonstrated the dish to restaurant manager, Charles Delmonico and refinements were made by chef, Charles Ranhofer. The creation was then added to the restaurant’s menu as Lobster a la Wenburg. The dish grew fast in popularity. There was an argument between Wenburg and manager Charles Delmonica which caused the dish to be removed from the menu but after many requests from patrons, it was returned with the name Lobster Newburg as we know it today.

There are actually two Pecan Days. Today and then April 14th is National Pecan Day. This is a rather nutty day to celebrate and enjoy popular, tasty pecans. Pecan trees is the only type of nut tree which is native to North America.

Waffle Day is a day that you can waffle on issues and decisions, and eat waffles. Waffle day also has two days. Today is International Waffle Day. National Waffle Day is August 24th. International Waffle Day originated in Sweden. It is called Våffeldagen. The holiday coincides with the Feast of the Annunciation. This day was also considered the start of spring in Sweden and Europe. It became a custom for Swedish families to celebrate the two events by making waffles on this day. The waffle dates back to the 1300s in Greece. Greeks cooked flat cakes between two metal pans. At the time, they topped it with cheeses and herbs. Pancake syrup wasn’t around back then. Waffles are commonly eaten as breakfast or a snack. They are also an occasional dinner meal for some people. Pancakes were first made in New York City on this day in 1882.

Today is International Day of Rememberance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic. This day serves as an opportunity to honor and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system, and to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today. “Forever Free: Celebrating Emancipation” is this year’s theme and it pays tribute to the emancipation of slaves in nations across the world. 2013 is the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation in the U.S.

March 25th is National Day of Celebration of Greek & American Democracy. In 1821, Greeks rose up against the oppresive Ottoman Empire which had occupied Greece for neary four centuries. This was the start of the war of independence that ultimately was a success. Bishop Germanos of Patras boldly raised the Greek flag at the monastery of Agia Lavras. This incited the Peloponnese to rise against the oppressors. The exact date might not be March 25th, but it is known to have occurred in late March and it was gradually associated with the religious feast of the Annunciation. On this day in the Greek Orthodox calendar, the archangel Gabriel appeared to the maiden Mary and announced the news: she was pregnant with the divine child. Bishop Germanos chose this day to deliver a different but not unrelated message: a new spirit was about to be born in Greece.

The United States Congress has designated March 25th of each year as National Medal of Honor Day. This day is dedicated to those who have received a Medal of Honor. It was March 25, 1863 when the first Medals of Honor were presented. Six members of Andrews’ Raiders received these. National Medal of Honor day is celebrated in some communities, however for the most part the occasion comes and goes with little notice. To commemorate this day you can fly your flag. To remember our heroes a nice gesture of your appreciation would be to mail a “Thank you” card to one of our living Medal of Honor recipients. Most media outlets are unaware of this holiday so a way to honor the recipients would be to tip the local media off to the occasion.

National Tolkien Reading Day is celebrated annually on March 25th. This day was started in 2003 by the Tolkien Society to encourage the readings of J.R.R. Tolkien. March 25th was chosen as the date to honor the fall of Sauron in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The day was originally suggested by columnist Sean Kirst, of the Syracuse, NY Post-Standard newspaper. He has organized Tolkien Reading Days every year since 2008.

March 25th through 29th is Termite Awareness Week. This annual observance by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) promotes public vigilance against termites and educates homeowners about ways to ensure their properties don’t fall victim to this voracious pest. Termites feed 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the cellulose found in wood and paper products. They can silently chew through structures undetected and cause more than $5 billion in property damage every year, an expense that isn’t typically covered under homeowners’ insurance policies.

Passover begins today at sundown. Passover is an eight day festival celebrated in the early spring. It commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. By following the rituals of Passover, Jewish people have the ability to relive and experience the true freedom that their ancestors gained. The Story of Passover, from http://www.chabad.org:

After many decades of slavery to the Egyptian pharaohs, during which time the Israelites were subjected to backbreaking labor and unbearable horrors, G d saw the people’s distress and sent Moses to Pharaoh with a message: “Send forth My people, so that they may serve Me.” But despite numerous warnings, Pharaoh refused to heed G d’s command. G d then sent upon Egypt ten devastating plagues, afflicting them and destroying everything from their livestock to their crops. At the stroke of midnight of 15 Nissan in the year 2448 from creation (1313 BCE), G d visited the last of the ten plagues on the Egyptians, killing all their firstborn. While doing so, G d spared the Children of Israel, “passing over” their homes—hence the name of the holiday. Pharaoh’s resistance was broken, and he virtually chased his former slaves out of the land. The Israelites left in such a hurry, in fact, that the bread they baked as provisions for the way did not have time to rise. Six hundred thousand adult males, plus many more women and children, left Egypt on that day, and began the trek to Mount Sinai and their birth as G d’s chosen people.

Passover is divided into two parts. The first two days and last two days are full-fledged holidays. Holiday candles are lit at night and kiddush and sumptuous holiday meals are enjoyed on both nights and days. Traditionally, Jews don’t go to work, drive, write or switch on or off electric devices. Jews are permitted to cook and to carry outdoors. The middle four days are called chol hamoed, semi-festive “intermediate days,” when most forms of work are permitted. To commemorate the unleavened bread that the Israelites ate when they left Egypt, Jews do not eat or even keep any chametz in their possession from midday of the day before Passover until the conclusion of the holiday. Chametz is leavened grain, which means any food or drink that contains even a trace of wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt or their derivatives, and which was not guarded from leavening or fermentation. Bread, cake, cookies, cereal, pasta and most alcoholic beverages are included in this. Almost any proccessed food or drink can be assumed to be chametz unless certified otherwise. Matzah is eaten instead of chametz. Matzah is flat unleavened bread. During most of the holiday it is optional to partake of matzah but on the two Seder nights it is a mitzvah (a commandment of Jewish law). The highlight of Passover is the Seder, observed on each of the first two nights of the holiday. The Seder is a fifteen-step family-oriented tradition and ritual-packed feast. Eating matzah and bitter herbs, drinking four cups of wine or grape juice, and the recitation of the Haggadah are the focal points of the Seder.*

Some of the writers born on March 25th include:

Louis Moréri (1643), Paul de Rapin (1661), Jose de Espronceda (1808), Mary Gladys Webb (1881), A.J.P. Taylor (1906), Benzion Netanyahu (1910), Howard Cosell (1918), Flannery O’Connor (1925), Anthony Quinton (1925), Jaime Sabines (1926), Penelope Gilliatt (1932), Hoyt Axton (1938), Toni Cade Bambara (1939), Daniel Bensaid (1946), Stephen Hunter (1946), Elton John (1947), Elli Stai (1954), Thom Loverro (1954), Jim Uhls (1957), Susie Bright (1958), Linda Sue Park (1960), Fred Goss (1961), Kate DiCamillo (1964), and Cathy Dennis (1969).

According to legend, Venice was founded at twelve o’clock noon on March 25, 421.

The Council of Pisa opened March 25, 1409 and was an unrecognized ecumenical council of the Catholic Church held in 1409 that attempted to end the Western Schism by deposing Benedict XIII and Gregory XII. Instead of ending the Western Schism, the Council elected a third papal claimant, Alexander V, who would be succeeded by John XXIII.

On March 25, 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh was granted a patent to colonize Virginia.

The first settlers arrived in Maryland on this day in 1634.

Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, was discovered by Christiaan Huygens on March 25, 1655.

The Treaty of Amiens was signed as a “Definitive Treaty of Peace” between France and the United Kingdom on this day in 1802.

On March 25, 1807, the Slave Trade Act became law, abolishing the slave trade in the British Empire. That same day, the Swansea and Mumbles Railway, then known as the Oystermouth Railway, became the first passenger carrying railway in the world.

On March 25, 1811, Percy Bysshe Shelley was expelled from the University of Oxford for publishing the pamphlet The Necessity of Atheism.

Coxey’s Army, the first significant American protest march, departed on March 25, 1894 from Massillon, Ohio for Washington, D.C..

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire killed 146 garment workers in New York on this day in 1911.

On March 25, 1931, the Scottsboro Boys were arrested in Alabama and charged wth rape. The Scottsboro Boys were nine black teenage boys. The landmark set of legal cases from this incident dealt with racism and the right to a fair trial. The case included a frameup, an all-white jury, rushed trials, an attempted lynching, an angry mob, and is an example of an overall miscarriage of justice. On March 25, 1931, several people were hoboing on a freight train traveling between Chattanooga and Memphis, Tennessee. Several white boys jumped off the train and reported to the sheriff they had been attacked by a group of black boys. The sheriff deputized a posse, stopped and searched the train at Paint Rock, Alabama, arrested the black boys, and found two white girls who accused the boys of rape. The case was first heard in Scottsboro, Alabama in three rushed trials, where the defendants received poor legal representation. All but the thirteen-year-old Roy Wright were convicted of rape and sentenced to death, the common sentence in Alabama at the time for black men convicted of raping white women. But with the help from the American Communist Party, the case was appealed. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed seven of the eight convictions, and granted thirteen-year-old Eugene Williams a new trial because he was a juvenile. Chief Justice John C. Anderson dissented however, ruling that the defendants had been denied an impartial jury, fair trial, fair sentencing, and effective counsel. Upon waiting for their trials, eight of the nine defendants stayed in Kilby Prison. The case was returned to the lower court and the judge allowed a change of venue, moving the retrials to Decatur, Alabama. Judge Horton was appointed. During the retrials, one of the alleged victims admitted fabricating the rape story and asserted that none of the Scottsboro Boys touched either of the white women. The jury found the defendants guilty, but the judge set aside the verdict and granted a new trial. After a new series of trials, the verdict was the same: guilty. The cases were ultimately tried three times. For the third time a jury—now with one black member—returned a third guilty verdict. Charges were finally dropped for four of the nine defendants. Sentences for the rest ranged from 75 years to death. All but two served prison sentences. One was shot in prison by a guard. Two escaped, were charged with crimes, and were sent back to prison. Clarence Norris, the oldest defendant and the only one sentenced to death, escaped parole and went into hiding in 1946. He was pardoned by George Wallace in 1976 after he was found, and wrote a book about his experiences. The last surviving defendant died in 1989. The Scottsboro Boys, as they became known, at the time were defended by many in the North and attacked by many in the South. The case is now widely considered a miscarriage of justice that led to the end of all-white juries in the South. The case has inspired and has been examined in literature, music, theatre, film and television.

On March 25, 1947, an explosion in a coal mine in Centralia, Illinois killed 111.

The first successful tornado forecast predicts that a tornado would strike Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma was given March 25, 1948.

The extensive deportation campaign known as March deportation was conducted in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on this day in 1949 to force collectivisation by way of terror. The Soviet authorities deported more than 92,000 people from the Baltics to remote areas of the Soviet Union.

On March 25, 1957 United States Customs seized copies of Allen Ginsberg’s poemHowl” on the grounds of obscenity. On that same day the European Economic Community was established (West Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg).

Canada‘s Avro Arrow made its first flight on this day in 1958. The Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow was a delta-winged interceptor aircraft, designed and built by Avro Canada as the culmination of a design study that began in 1953. Considered to be both an advanced technical and aerodynamic achievement for the Canadian aviation industry, the CF-105 (Mark 2) held the promise of near Mach 3 speeds at altitudes likely exceeding 60,000 ft. (18,000 m), and was intended to serve as the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) primary interceptor in the 1960s and beyond. Not long after the 1958 start of its flight test program, the development of the Arrow (including its Orenda Iroquois jet engines) was abruptly and controversially halted before the project review had taken place, sparking a long and bitter political debate. The controversy engendered by the cancellation and subsequent destruction of the aircraft in production remains a topic for debate among historians, political observers and industry pundits. “This action effectively put Avro out of business and its highly skilled engineering and production personnel scattered….”

Civil rights activists led by Martin Luther King, Jr. successfully completed their 4-day 50-mile march from Selma to the capitol in Montgomery, Alabama on March 25, 1965.

The first fully functional space shuttle orbiter, Columbia, was delivered on this day in 1979 to the John F. Kennedy Space Center to be prepared for its first launch.

The Candle demonstration on March 25, 1988 in Bratislava was the first mass demonstration of the 1980s against the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.

The Happy Land fire was an arson fire on March 25, 1990 that killed 87 people trapped inside an illegal nightclub in the New York City borough of The Bronx.

On March 25, 1992, the Pakistan national cricket team won the 1992 Cricket World Cup when for the first time in the history of cricket the Final was played at Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev returned to Earth on March 25, 1992 after a 10-month stay aboard the Mir space station.

WikiWikiWeb, the world’s first wiki, and part of the Portland Pattern Repository, was made public by Ward Cunningham on March 25, 1995.

On this day in 1996 an 81-day-long standoff between the anti-government group Montana Freeman and law enforcement near Jordan, Montana, began. On that same day the European Union’s Veterinarian Committee banned the export of British beef and its by-products as a result of mad cow disease.
On March 25, 2006, protesters demanding a new election in Belarus, following the rigged Belarusian presidential election of 2006 clashed with riot police. Opposition leader Aleksander Kozulin was among several protesters arrested. That same day the Capitol Hill massacre occurred. A gunman killed six people before taking his own life at a party in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

the manipulated

Today we bring you The Manipulated by Nathan Walpow.  We have Like New copies available of this hardcover book from the Joe Portugal Mysteries series. Amazon gives the following description:

Joe Portugal’s experienced killing before. He’s seen gunmen mow down a friend on little more than a whim. He’s known greed and ambition to drive his friends to murder. But now he’s face to face with a whole new degree of wickedness. A show business prodigy has been shot dead. Though no one — except perhaps the man’s father — will mourn him, his demise puts Joe in debt to a shadowy presence whose sway extends deep into Southern California industry, government, and law enforcement. And suddenly Joe begins to suspect that everyone he knows — his protégé, stunning television star Ronnie McKenzie; his new wife, Gina; and most disturbing of all, his prison vet father — is part of that clandestine coterie known as “the manipulated.” Nathan Walpow’s “snappy Chandleresque dialogue” (Los Angeles Times) adds punch to this intricate, darkly witty whodunit set in the trashier byways of Tinseltown.

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*This blogger is not Jewish and has no first hand knowledge of the Jewish traditions. The information presented here has been gathered from websites such as chabad.org and wikipedia. Any corrections or clarifications are more than welcome.

Disclaimer: Much of the information in this blog is taken directly from Wikipedia and Amazon.   Images have been taken from various sources around the World Wide Web.

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