World Lion Day

Today we celebrate those majestic felines of Africa and Asia. August 10 is World Lion Day. A symbol of strength, the lion is known as the king of the jungle.

There are two types of lions living in the world. Most often, we think of the African lion, which lives in several countries of the African continent. But there is also the Asiatic lion. It once inhabited much of India and the Middle East, but today is restricted to a small area in Gujarat State in India. They tend to be smaller than an African lion, with a much smaller mane. There are believed to be less than five hundred of them left.

Big Cat Rescue began World Lion Day. They are the world’s largest accredited sanctuary dedicated to big cats. Sadly, lions are in danger, mainly because of the shrinking of their habitat, though poaching and trophy hunting certainly contribute. The lion is not yet officially listed as endangered, but if things go the way they have been, it will sadly likely be on that list soon. According to The Africat Foundation:

  • Lion populations have plummeted by 43% in the past 20 years, to an estimated 20 000; in the same time-frame, populations in West, Central and East have collectively dropped by 60%. (One site estimates that in 1975 there were 250,000 lions, so that is quite a drop!.)
  • Lions have lost 75% of their original habitat in the past 100 years, lions now only occupy 8% of their historical range (which once spanned an area of over 13 million km.), and according to reports have disappeared entirely from 12 African countries, with possible recent extinction in four more;
  • Only 6 African countries unequivocally harbor more than 1 000 lions: Tanzania & Kenya, Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa;

So give a thought today to these magnificent creatures who are fighting for their survival.

Quotes about lions

A truly strong person does not need the approval of others any more than a lion needs the approval of sheep.–Vernon Howard

The one excellent thing that can be learned from a lion is that whatever a man intends doing should be done by him with a whole-hearted and strenuous effort.–Chanakya

It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.–Elizabeth Kenny

An optimist is someone who gets treed by a lion but enjoys the scenery.–Walter Winchell

An injured lion still wants to roar.–Randy Pausch

It was the nation and the race dwelling all round the globe that had the lion’s heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar.–Winston Churchill

A lion’s work hours are only when he’s hungry; once he’s satisfied, the predator and prey live peacefully together.–Chuck Jones

I’ve got a friend who is a lion tamer. He used to be a school teacher till he lost his nerve.–Les Dawson

Do not try to fight a lion if you are not one yourself.–African Proverb

“It’s a mystery,” replied the Lion. “I suppose I was born that way. All the other animals in the forest naturally expect me to be brave, for the Lion is everywhere thought to be the King of Beasts. I learned that if I roared very loudly every living thing was frightened and got out of my way.”–L. Frank Baum

A lion sleeps in the heart of every brave man.–Turkish Proverb

You know the lion is dangerous when it is quiet, stalking, sneaking up on its prey. Only after it has ambushed and killed its prey does the lion roar. It wants to intimidate the jackals.–J. Hand

It is better to go in the dark when the road must pass a lion and there is no other road.–Robert E. Howard

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National Zucchini Day

August 8 is National Zucchini Day, also known as Sneak A Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. The idea for this holiday came from Philadelphia local radio and television personality Tom Roy. Zucchinis, or courgettes are popular to put in a garden because they grow so profusely. However, in spite of their looks, they are not vegetables. They are actually a type of summer squash, which makes them a fruit. I wouldn’t put them in a fruit salad, however! Zucchinis are low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

According to Wikipedia, “Zucchini, like all squash, has its ancestry in the Americas. However, the varieties of squash typically called ‘zucchini’ were developed in northern Italy in the second half of the 19th century.”

Philip Potempa of the Post-Tribune in Chicago gives a rule of thumb for how many zucchinis to plant. “One zucchini plant will yield enough for a family of four. Two plants, assure some leftover for additional family and friends. With three zucchini plants, you’ve got your entire street covered. And a garden or yard with five plants, all filled with blooms? Be ready to feed the entire block.” If you have overplanted your crop, it is time to bless your friends, family, and neighbors with the autumn harvest, or even better, donate to your local food pantry.

Zucchinis are very versatile, of course. You can bake them or fry them, or add them to soups, salads, and many other dishes. You can also turn them into zucchini bread or chocolate zucchini cake, which to my mind is the only possible way to eat zucchini. Zucchini can also be frozen, so you don’t have to feel overwhelmed with the current harvest.

It is easy to find zucchini recipes online by simply typing that into a search engine. For example, for a bunch of them that run the gamut from healthy to sweet, you can go to Allrecipes.

So if you are a zucchini lover, today is your day to go crazy!

Quotes about zucchini

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.–Jim Davis

The trouble is, you cannot grow just one zucchini. Minutes after you plant a single seed, hundreds of zucchini will barge out of the ground and sprawl around the garden, menacing the other vegetables. At night, you will be able to hear the ground quake as more and more zucchinis erupt.–Dave Barry

When I pass a flowering zucchini plant in a garden, my heart skips a beat.–Gwyneth Paltrow

One’s own flowers and some of one’s own vegetables make acceptable, free, self-congratulatory gifts when visiting friends, though giving zucchini – or leaving it on the doorstep, ringing the bell, and running – is a social faux pas.–Barbara Holland

The first zucchini I ever saw I killed it with a hoe.–John Gould

Last night we had three small zucchini for dinner that were grown within fifty feet of our back door. I estimate they cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $371.49 each.–Andy Rooney

There is a tale… It tells of the days when a blight hung over our land. Nothing prospered. Nothing flourished. Not even zucchini would grow.–Cameron Dokey

Vegetables cooked for salads should always be on the crisp side, like those trays of zucchini and slender green beans and cauliflowerets in every trattoria in Venice, in the days when the Italians could eat correctly.–M. F. K. Fisher

One day we came home from some errands to find a grocery sack of [zucchini] hanging on our mailbox. The perpetrator, of course, was nowhere in sight … Garrison Keillor says July is the only time of year when country people lock our cars in the church parking lot, so people won’t put squash on the front seat. I used to think that was a joke.–Barbara Kingsolver

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Wiggle Your Toes Day

August 6 is the day to let your toes feel the breeze and walk in the grass. Now I admit this isn’t really a good day for me, as I likely have on at least one pair of socks at all times, and often two. My feet get very cold, and now that I’m in Ireland, they seldom seem to warm up at all.

So this is a holiday for all those more warm-blooded than I am – for those of you who wear sandals, or simply go barefoot on these warm (in the Northern Hemisphere) summer days. As someone said,, “Your toes are supposed to lose it on their own special holiday and dance, move, workout and wiggle around freely.”

No one seems to know who created this holiday, but it always falls on August 6. There are several ways to celebrate. Simply removing your socks and wiggling your toes in the grass or water is the simplest. One web page I looked at advocated getting together with friends and all wiggling your toes together. Some people choose this day to get a pedicure. If you have a small child, there is a cute board book called Wiggle Your Toes.

Did you know that each toe has a different name? According to National Whatever Day, they are named thus:

  1. Hallux (“big toe” or “great toe”), the innermost (most proximal) toe and the closest to the toes of the other foot
  2. Second toe or “long toe”
  3. Third toe, or “middle toe”
  4. Fourth toe, or “ring toe”
  5. Fifth toe (“little toe”, “pinky toe”, or “baby toe”), the outermost (most distal) toe

There are also health benefits to going barefoot. The power of positivity lists 10. A few of them are: going barefoot can strengthen the immune system, reduce pain of several kinds, and normalize biological rhythms.

So if you are so inclined, let those toes wiggle today!

Quotes about toes

You will never stub your toe standing still. The faster you go, the more chance there is of stubbing your toe, but the more chance you have of getting somewhere.–Charles F. Kettering

And I love a scary movie. It makes your toes curl and it’s not you going through it.–Anthony Hopkins

Those who stand on their toes are not steady.–Laozi

It’s a pleasant thing to be young, and have ten toes.–Robert Louis Stevenson

My mother told me I was dancing before I was born. She could feel my toes tapping wildly inside her for months.–Ginger Rogers

I am the American heartbreak- The rock on which Freedom Stumped its toe.–Langston Hughes

A good poet feels what his community feels. Like if you stub your toe, the rest of your body hurts.–Gil Scott-Heron

You won’t step on other’s toes if you imagine yourself in their shoes.–Rick Warren

Tact is the ability to step on a man’s toes without messing up the shine on his shoes.–Harry S. Truman

Stay on your toes and always move forward.–Evander Holyfield

A brook can be a friend in a special way. It talks to you with splashy gurgles. It cools your toes and lets you sit quietly beside it when you don’t feel like speaking.–Joan Walsh Anglund

To say that I enjoyed writing… is like saying I enjoy having fingers and toes. It’s difficult to imagine life without them.–Dennis Covington

She worked her toes into the sand, feeling the tiny delicious pain of the friction of tiny chips of silicon against the tender flesh between her toes. That’s life. It hurts, it’s dirty, and it feels very, very good.–Orson Scott Card

Kaitlyn never wore open-toed shoes on account of how she hated her feet because she felt her second toes were too long, as if the second toe was a window into the soul or something.–John Green

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National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

August 4 is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (not to be confused with National Chocolate Chip Day, which is May 15). The most popular cookie in America, they were invented by accident. For many, this will be a familiar story.

Back in 1930, Ruth Graves Wakefield and her husband Kenneth owned the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. Ruth, of course, did all the cooking for the guests. One day when she was mixing up a batch of chocolate cookies, she realized she was out of baking chocolate and substituted broken pieces of a Nestles chocolate bar instead, expecting them to melt as the cookies baked. They didn’t and by happy accident, she had created the most wonderful of all cookies. They were originally known as Toll House Crunch Cookies, and we still today often refer to them as Toll House Cookies. Hooray for women inventors and creative cooks!

Wakefield not only did the cookie loving public a huge favor, but Nestles as well, since sales of their chocolate soared, and finally they printed her recipe on their bags of chips in return for a lifetime supply of chocolate for her. You can make any number of variations on the cookies, but to my mind, Ruth Wakefield’s recipe is the best. If however, you are looking for something new, simply typing chocolate chip cookie recipes into your favorite search engine will give you a whole page of suggestions to try.

Of course, one of the good things about a day like this is that places give out free chocolate chip cookies. You can find one such list of them here.

So celebrate this day. Either make a batch or buy some chocolate chip cookies and celebrate.

Quotes about (mostly) chocolate chip cookies

Raisin cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies are the main reason I have trust issues.–Woody Paige

Number one, I absolutely love making chocolate chip cookies. I mean, it’s fun. It’s exciting. Beyond the fact that I love making them, I love eating them.–Debbi Fields

I love chocolate chip cookies – really anything with chocolate will do!–Laura Wilkinson

I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas.–Hillary Clinton

In the cookie of life, friends are the chocolate chips.–Salman Rushdie (& many others)

If I had any choice in the matter, I’d stay in my comfy bed and eat warm chocolate chip cookies all day.–Simone Elkeles

If you can’t change the world with chocolate chip cookies, how can you change the world?–Pat Murphy

I will never get tired of making chocolate chip cookies. Never.–Danielle Campbell

It’s all about what you feel on the inside – and I’m feeling like a chocolate chip cookie because I had about ten of them last night!–Amber Benson

I love watching keep-fit videos while munching chocolate chip cookies.–Dolly Parton

When we think of classic American desserts, we tend to imagine apple pie and ice cream. However, the most classic American dessert of all might be the chocolate chip cookie.–Homaro Cantu

I think the kazoo and chocolate-chip cookies have a lot in common. All you need is a mouth to appreciate either one.–Wally Amos

I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.–Nora Ephron

I’m addicted to chocolate chip cookies. I mean that seriously. If there are chocolate chip cookies, I will devour them.–Hasan Minhaj

I’m passionate about anything I align myself with. You want to talk about chocolate chip cookies? I’m not going to open a chocolate chip cookie store, but I will talk your ear off about it.–Blake Lively

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International Clown Week

August 1-7 is International Clown Week. In 1971, Richard Nixon made the following proclamation: “To call public attention to the charitable activities of clowns and the wholesome entertainment they provide for all our citizens, the Congress by a joint resolution approved October 8, 1970 (Public Law 91-433), has requested the President to designate the week of August 1 through August 7, 1971, as International Clown Week.” He also urged that people recognize, “the contributions made by clowns in their entertainment at children’s hospitals, charitable institutions, for the mentally retarded, and generally helping to lift the spirits and boost the morale of our people.”

Clowns are ancient characters. Likely there were people performing the same purpose long before recorded history. However, clowns as we know them got their start in Greek and Roman times, appearing in dramas as the rustic fool, or rustic buffoon character. Of course, the character of the fool appears in Shakespeare’s plays. His job there is to speak the truth that others can’t. Since the nineteenth century, clowns have become associated with circuses, and are now more of a tramp or hobo character than the rustic bumpkin, or are what might be called bozo characters, named after Bozo the Clown. The McDonald’s mascot is one such.

Though clowns are generally trying to be sweet and silly, many people find them creepy instead. I confess that as I grow older, I find clowns less and less appealing – at least those in the circus. The fear of clowns is called coulrophobia, though for most, clowns are just faintly disturbing. But if you don’t like clowns, you are not alone. There is a Web page called I Hate Clowns devoted to those who hate clowns, though it doesn’t seem to have been kept up at all.

So depending on your point of view, either celebrate or avoid clowns this week!

Quotes about clowns

People hunger for love, and clowning is a trick to get love close. As a clown I can do things that people are too frightened of Love to allow you to do.–Patch Adams

I remain just one thing, and one thing only – and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician.–Charlie Chaplin

A clown’s makeup and character, that’s all he has to sell. He loves and believes in that character.–Emmett Kelly

Be a clown, be a clown,
All the world loves a clown.
Act the fool, play the calf,
And you’ll always have the last laugh.
Cole Porter

I don’t want to be called “the greatest” or “one of the greatest”. Let other guys claim to be the best. I just want to be known as a clown because to me, that’s the height of my profession. It means you can do everything — sing, dance and, above all, make people laugh.–Red Skelton

But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.–Carl Sagan

I remember in the circus learning that the clown was the prince, the high prince. I always thought that the high prince was the lion or the magician, but the clown is the most important.–Roberto Benigni

I think we all have the urge to be a clown, whether we know it or not.–Ernest Borgnine

Making my class laugh and getting in trouble. I was the class clown.–R. L. Stine

I just love making a fool out of myself. I made my living as a clown at kids’ parties for about three years.–Hugh Jackman

By blood a king, in heart a clown.–Alfred Lord Tennyson

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