Most people celebrate the 4th of July by making a special trip to a local public area where fireworks displays are set off, and a great many people gather to see the show. For many people, it's also time to have a picnic or a get-together with family, since it's a national holiday and very few people are actually working. As with most holidays, we have gotten long beyond the original reason for celebrating it, and that makes it very easy to forget about the whole reason for the celebration in the first place.
Why we celebrate
On July 4, 1776 the United States was formed as a country, having declared its independence from Great Britain. Of course, the mere declaration was not enough to win our independence from Great Britain, and a war had to be fought in order to earn that right. It is something of a minor miracle that a ragtag, undisciplined group of soldiers which was hastily whipped up among the 13 colonies of that time, could actually defeat the mightiest military power in the world.
But that is exactly what happened, and with the aid of France, those American soldiers finally defeated the British at Yorktown in 1781. If the Las Vegas bookmakers had been around at that time, the odds of the upstart United States defeating Great Britain in an all-out war, might've been something like 100 to 1.
The meaning of the holiday
Ultimately, the meaning of the 4th of July is all about independence, and freedom from being ruled by another country. It's appropriate on this day that everyone recognizes just how lucky we are to live in the country which allows more freedoms than any other country in the world. This year of course, that whole outlook has been dampened somewhat by the intrusion of the coronavirus pandemic.
In fact, many of the celebrations around the nation will be much more subdued, and many displays of fireworks might even be canceled because of the social implications of the disease. However, that doesn't mean that it's any less significant to us as a nation to remember our roots, and how we came to be a unified country.
This year's celebration
Despite the fact that many celebrations on this year's 4th of July will be curtailed, it will still be possible to mark the occasion with family and friends in some way. Many areas of the country have already opened up businesses and restaurants, so that it's possible to dine out to celebrate. Ordinarily, most people would probably have a get-together outdoors and stage a picnic with a barbecue and all kinds of outdoor activities.
This year however, since most restaurants have been closed for prolonged period of time, and some have just reopened, it might be that more people choose to celebrate the holiday by having dinner in a restaurant. Regardless of how you choose to celebrate the holiday, it should be a time where you join with your loved ones to remember how this country came to be. Even amidst the restrictions we all have to endure because of the pandemic, this is still the best country on earth to enjoy the simple freedoms we all love.
Reviewing The Magical 2020 Summer Solstice Eclipse
The official start of summer in the northern hemisphere occurs on Saturday, June 20 at 5:44 PM EDT. This is generally referred to as the summer solstice, and it's the time of the year when Earth reaches the point in its orbit where the North Pole is tilted 23.5° toward the sun, which is its maximum amount of tilt during the year.
This gives us the longest day of the year in terms of sunlight, and the shortest night of the year as well. On June 20, all points in the northern hemisphere did receive sunlight at the most direct angle all year long, because the sun will be at its highest point in the sky. The reverse is true of course for the southern hemisphere, and the sun is at its lowest point in the sky on that same date. That means people in the southern hemisphere will be experiencing their winter solstice on the same day that we have our summer solstice.
Marking the occasion
As it happens, the weekend of the summer solstice will be specially celebrated by Mother Nature with an annular solar eclipse. The eclipse did occur during the weekend of the solstice, and it happened a little before midnight on Saturday, June 20, reaching its maximum point around 2:40 AM EDT on June 21. Angular eclipses are somewhat like total solar eclipses, except that they don't completely cover the sun.
Instead, the moon covers much of the sun, while leaving a very thin ring known as an annulus around the dark shape of the moon. Unfortunately, the eclipse is not be visible from any point in North America, although it can be plainly seen in many areas of Asia, Australia, Africa, and Europe. For people living in North America, the eclipse can be viewed by watching a YouTube feed.
About the summer solstice
The Latin word solstitium is the origin for our modern word solstice, and it comes from two base words which are sol, meaning the sun, and stitium, meaning stopped or still. This was meant to reflect that on the day of the solstice, to all appearances the sun seems to stop moving in the sky as it reaches its northernmost point of the year, at least as seen from Earth. In the days after the solstice, it appears to the naked eye as though the sun has reversed course and is headed back toward the other direction.
This apparent motion is the path of the sun as viewed from Earth when someone marks its position at the same time every day in the sky. If you were to mark the sun's position at noon every day for instance, it would appear to be reversing course and heading in the opposite direction from before the solstice.
In actuality, the sun isn't really moving at all, but the change in its skyward position is caused by the tilt of earth on its axis while it orbits around the sun. This optical illusion is also contributed to by the fact that Earth has an elliptical orbit rather than a circular one. In any case, the summer solstice marks an important occasion during the year, and it's one that everyone should take a moment to appreciate. It's the first day of summer!
Since the origins of Memorial Day stemmed from events which happened 160 years ago, most youngsters and many adults are not even aware of how the holiday came into existence. Most are just grateful for the three-day weekend, as well as the fact that it is often considered the unofficial kickoff to the summer season, when summer fairs and festivals are commonly scheduled. Many of those celebrations may be curtailed this year, in light of the social restrictions imposed by coronavirus limitations, but people will find a way to celebrate the holiday in their own way, regardless of restrictions. In the midst of your own celebrations, here are a few things to remember about how Memorial Day came into being.
Reaction to the Civil War
All of us were required to learn about the Civil War in grade school, as one of the crucial events in our nation's history. But it's not generally remembered that more than 600,000 men from both sides perished during this 4-year war, and that left the country decimated of some of its brightest and most capable young men. The single-day casualty list from such battles as Shiloh, Antietam, Gettysburg, Manassas, Fredericksburg, the Wilderness, and Chickamauga are staggering testimonies to the ferocity with which the war was fought. In the aftermath, groups all around the country initiated movements to remember the fallen heroes from those savage confrontations.
Originally Decoration Day
When it was first celebrated as a holiday, the day was known as Decoration Day, because people would adorn graves and cemetery sites with flowers and other cheerful reminders of those who had perished. The name began to shift more toward Memorial Day in the 1880's, but it wasn't until 1967 that the federal government officially re-christened the holiday as Memorial Day. It has borne that universal name ever since.
The South originally resisted it
People who lived in the southern states, i.e. those belonging to the Confederacy, did not originally adopt the practice of celebrating Memorial Day, feeling that it was intended to honor Northern soldiers who had been enlisted to squash the secessionist states. It was not until after World War I that most southern states began to participate in Memorial Day celebrations, because by that time the meaning of Memorial Day had been altered to honor the fallen heroes from all of America's wars, rather than just those from the Civil War.
Customs associated with Memorial Day
Originally, General Orders #11 stated that there would be no special ceremonies or observances scheduled for Memorial Day, and that it would simply be a day of remembrance for the fallen. However, with the passage of time, several customs have come to be strongly connected with the day, and are now accepted as customs of Memorial Day. As an example, it is now customary for flags to be flown at half-staff until noon, then raised and flown at full-staff until evening.
It has also become customary to play 'Taps', the song which is always played at military funerals and memorial services. The song itself came into being during the Civil War, when a Union general grew tired of hearing the normal 'lights out' tune played every night, and collaborated with the brigade bugler on an improvised version of a new song. This new song gained popularity, and was eventually played at all gatherings which memorialized fallen soldiers.
Importance of Zinc and Vitamin-C Supplements
In light of the pandemic which currently has the entire globe in its grip, a great many people are seeking ways to bolster their immune system, so as to provide greater protection against respiratory infections such as the coronavirus. Research has clearly demonstrated that there are specific supplements you can take which will lower your chances of becoming infected, and which will also reduce the severity of any symptoms you might have if you do become infected. In addition to consuming more fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi, ingesting more zinc and Vitamin C may also be highly beneficial in boosting your immune system.
Value of taking more zinc
Zinc plays a very important role in your body's immune system, and when it is present in sufficient quantities it will produce more immune cells so as to fight off any kind of infection. When there's not enough zinc in your body, the number of immune cells available to stave off infection is much lower, and that makes you more vulnerable to becoming infected.
Research has shown that people taking a zinc supplement within 24 hours of the first sign of a common cold or flu can make symptoms much less severe, and can shorten the overall duration of the cold. If you're a person who keeps close count on all the minerals and nutrients being ingested into your body, you should know that men need 11 mg of zinc each day and women need 8 mg.
The best source of zinc other than supplements, is in red meats and seafood, as well as some legumes and whole grains. You will get a much higher level of zinc, and it will be much more readily absorbed from the seafood or the meat, than from the grains or legumes. Be careful not to overdo your zinc intake however, because if you exceed 40 mg of zinc per day, it can actually lead to some types of neurological problems.
Benefits of taking more vitamin C
Vitamin C is another important nutrient which the body needs, either from your normal diet or in the form of a supplement. Its role in the immune system is that of an antioxidant, and this serves to enhance immune cell function, while also supporting anti-inflammatory developments within the body. Anyone who has a deficiency of vitamin C is much more likely to be infected by something, because of a reduced efficiency in the immune system.
If you maintain a daily intake of vitamin C between 100 mg and 200 mg per day, it can go a long way toward preventing any kind of respiratory infection. The best way to take vitamin C is in two or three small doses of around 50 mg with your meals, because if you take in any more vitamin C than the body actually needs, it simply won't be absorbed and it will be passed out in your urine.
You'll find vitamin C in a number of whole foods such as broccoli, pineapple, and kiwi. Keep in mind that vitamin C is not stored in the body, and that means you'll have to get fresh intake of this nutrient every single day, or you won't be prepared to properly stave off infection. If you can maintain the right level of this daily supplement though, your chances of being infected by coronavirus are very slim indeed.
Importance of Keeping Healthcare Workers Healthy and Well-Supplied with PPE
As the new world created by the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the majority of people are beginning to understand the importance of social distancing, of personal hygiene, and of doing everything possible to prevent the spread of the disease. A factor which is not really in the forefront of the consciousness of most people however, is that it's just as important that we make every effort to ensure the health of frontline medical personnel who are fighting the spread of the virus.
It has been impossible to keep healthcare workers well supplied with the personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary for dealing with coronavirus. Without having the proper gloves, gowns, and face masks necessary to be safe, any health worker who comes in contact with a carrier of the virus becomes very susceptible to contracting it themselves.
What we can do to help
Everyone should continue to observe social distancing, so as to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. Some individuals have recognized the need for the PPE supplies, and have taken it upon themselves to begin making face masks which can be used in hospitals and other medical facilities. Some businesses which have supplies of PPE equipment have donated them, and other businesses which have not yet done so, should strongly consider making a donation of this very valuable equipment.
President Trump recently signed the Defense Production Act, which directed manufacturing companies to produce more supplies of personal protective equipment so that all healthcare facilities could have adequate supplies. While this act is yet to be enforced, some companies have voluntarily complied and have stepped up production of PPE, or have switched over to making PPE from whatever their normal product lines were.
Whether you are a private citizen, or a manager in a production facility which is capable of making PPE, you can do your part to persuade everyone you know to contribute toward making greater supplies of healthcare equipment that will safeguard frontline medical workers.
Restrict, Reduce and Reuse
Many healthcare organizations have implemented a policy commonly referred to as Restrict, Reduce, and Re-use, which is intended to conserve available supplies of PPE type equipment. Many healthcare organizations have also gone out of their way to persuade professional societies which they are associated with, to wield any leverage they might have to help with higher levels of PPE production.
Those individuals who are part of the scientific sector can provide evidence about the usefulness of sterilization and cleansing techniques, so that PPE can be re-used safely, or can be used for an extended period of time. They might also be able to provide solid recommendations on the best equipment and the most effective PPE to use, in light of experiences which have already been gained around the globe.
When the White House finally moves to enforce the Defense Production Act, it will undoubtedly spur a great many manufacturing companies to increase production of PPE, so that more can be made available to critical frontline health workers. Virtually everyone in society can play their own part in helping to ensure that healthcare personnel are adequately protected against contracting the virus. This will be an essential weapon in our fight against the spread of the virus, because these healthcare workers are easily the most effective weapon we have in the fight against coronavirus.
Benefits of Diet and Exercise
Not all aspects of staying healthy are under our direct control, but there are several factors which we can control which have a powerful influence over our overall health. The two areas which have the most direct impact on our health status are exercise and diet, and both of these can have a powerful effect on our current health, as well as our future health status.
This certainly isn't a news flash, and you have undoubtedly heard all this before, but it bears repeating in light of the fact that the whole world has been gripped by a pandemic which frequently chooses victims who are generally not in good health. If your immune system has been weakened or compromised in some way, you are a much better candidate to be victimized by coronavirus, and by other types of disease or infection which you might be exposed to. It is therefore definitely worth your while to take another look at the benefits of diet and exercise, and how they can boost your immune system to help keep you healthy.
Importance of good diet
When you provide your body with all the essential nutrients that it needs to keep a healthy immune system, it will go a long way toward maintaining your overall health, and preventing you from being susceptible to infections. Everyone should make sure to balance their diet with dairy products, oils, meats, poultry, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes.
The things you should avoid or minimize are sweets, salty foods, trans-fats, and excessive alcohol consumption. It's important that you monitor your calorie intake, because depending on your age and gender, your body will not need as many calories as it did when you were younger. When you maintain a well-balanced diet, with all the important nutrients required by your body, chances are you will stay much healthier and be better prepared to fight any infectious invaders.
Value of regular exercise
Just as important as a good diet is regular exercise. Most people should make a point of logging at least 2-1/2 hours per week of moderate exercise, so as to provide cardiovascular benefit to your body, and to keep all your limbs and joints in motion, so that you don't lose mobility. One of the reasons exercise is important is that as we exercise, chemicals called endorphins are released by the brain, and these endorphins are known as the 'feel-good' chemicals which are responsible for putting you in a good mood.
This can be very important, because it relieves stress which might accumulate from your daily encounters, and it will help you avoid depression, which can be another huge blow to your health. When you exercise regularly, it will also help to control your weight, and that in turn will lower your risk of high cholesterol, heart disease, or high blood pressure, all of which are serious health risks.
Another benefit of solid exercise is that it will help you sleep better, so you won't be as restless at night. Regular exercise can improve your mood, give you more energy, help to control your weight, help you sleep better, and make a powerful contribution to your overall health. When combined with the benefits you acquire through a healthy diet, these two factors can have a major impact on keeping you healthy.
Importance of Spending Quality Time with your Family at Home
Both parents and children often have very full schedules on most days of the week, and that can make it pretty challenging to find time to do activities together and enjoy quality time as a family. There are so many forces at work in our society which pull families apart, that it has become more important than ever for all family members to make a legitimate effort to spend time with each other. Here are some reasons why it would benefit both parents and children to come together as a family and enjoy quality time spent together.
One of the great things about coming together as a family and communicating with each other, is that it can help lower stress levels for everyone involved. The situations and the people we're exposed to on a daily basis can often increase stress that we have to endure, and when that is allowed to build up without being relieved, it can lead to serious emotional issues. When you have the chance to talk about your problems and your worries with other family members, it can be extremely beneficial to get all those things off your chest, so you're not holding them all inside.
Every day that you come together as a family, will be another opportunity which you have to create lasting memories which you can all share. Obviously, not every single day will be a memorable one in the lives of each of your family members, but when significant events do occur and are discussed with family members, they can be memories which everyone stores away and recalls pleasantly at a later time. Some of these might even be priceless, and if you didn't come together for family discussion, they might be completely missed
Strengthens family bonds
Time spent with family members at the end of the day is a great way to strengthen family bonds. If you can work in some family activities at these sessions, that will be even better because it will help to cement relationships with each other, and it will also contribute toward stress relief. These family get-togethers provide wonderful opportunities for sharing different perspectives and for helping to understand each other. This can make a world of difference in relating to individual family members, because you'll have a much better understanding of their outlook on life.
Increased self-esteem for kids
Family get-togethers are a great way for you to show your children that they really matter, and that their opinions have value. When everyone has a chance to speak and has equal importance in the family circle, it can do wonders for your kids' self-confidence, and can make them feel much better about themselves.
Leads to positive behaviors
A recently conducted study showed that children who consistently had meals with their family members did better in school, and older children had a much lower tendency to be involved with alcohol or drugs. The interactions between family members at regular get-togethers can have a very strong influence on their overall attitudes, as well as the behaviors they develop as they develop. When your whole family regularly gets together to talk about things important to them or which are bothering them, it will help everyone to feel much better about their lives, and will help them cope with the daily challenges of society.
Chicago Cubs Spring Training
The spring training activities of the Chicago Cubs, as with all teams in Major League Baseball, were suspended as of Thursday, March 12th, as a result of close consultation with various health officials at both the local and national level. The reason for the suspension is to discourage the gathering of any large crowd, which might have the effect of promoting the spread of the coronavirus disease which has been gathering sensational international headlines for weeks now.
Governor Pritzker has been assured by the owners of all major sports franchises in Illinois that they will stage no sporting events until at least May 1st, in accordance with advice from health officials. That means that even if Major League Baseball starts up again within the next six weeks, there will be no home games played in any Chicago sports venues during that time frame. A statewide plan for combating the coronavirus was announced by Governor Pritzker, along with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, on March 12th as well. That plan included the ban on sporting events, some number of school closings, and a general limitation on large gatherings.
Spring training news for the Cubs
Before the big news about the impact of the coronavirus on the Cubs' schedule, one of the major announcements of the spring training season was that All-Star Kris Bryant would be the team's new leadoff hitter for the upcoming season. The Cubs have had major troubles getting any kind of consistent production from leadoff hitters, and this move is expected to help reverse that situation. Bryant is an excellent hitter who also possesses good base-running skills, and is not prone to getting the 'yips' at the plate, even in pressure situations. If Bryant should get off to a good start this season, it's safe to say that the leadoff position will be his for quite some time.
Cubs Manager David Ross has confirmed that his opening day starter will be either Yu Darvish or Kyle Hendricks, with the actual selection to be announced once the haze of the coronavirus clears, and a firm opening day is known. Both pitchers have looked good in spring training, and it is expected that either one will be ready to take the mound and give a creditable performance. Ross has stated that his philosophy is to put his best foot forward on that first game of the season, and either one of these two pitchers will fill that bill.
On Wednesday, March 11th, the Cubs made five more roster moves, assigning several pitchers to the minor leagues, so as to get closer to the season-starting roster size of 26. The five pitchers who were sent down are James Norwood, Dakota Mekkes, Ben Taylor, Wyatt Short, and Danny Hultzen. While Norwood was assigned to the Triple-A Iowa baseball club, all four of the other pitchers were sent down to minor league organizations. These moves leave the Cubs with 39 players still on the team, which means they need to drop another 13 players to reach opening day roster size.
Best Spring Break Vacation Destinations
Deciding exactly where to go on spring break every year can be a difficult decision, unless you're one of those people who tends to follow the crowd and just goes where everyone else goes. This year, there are more choices than ever, and if you're going on spring break with a whole group of your friends, you'll be able to take advantage of some group discounts at some of the destinations listed below.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
If you're a beach lover, this is the place for you. This small Mexican village is an absolutely ideal locale for a vacation on the beach and in the sun. There are some gorgeous beaches in this village, and it's beautiful, tranquil waters are ideal for scuba diving or snorkeling, as well as for taking a nice dip yourself. There is also a major tourist attraction called the Arch of Cabo San Lucas, which is an unusually shaped rock formation that projects out into the ocean, providing an endless source of fascination for all observers.
Key West, Florida
You can't beat the ideal Florida climate for a vacation under the sun, and the Florida Keys provide the ideal venue, being surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the gentle waves that wash ashore. In between trips to the beach, you can visit the Ernest Hemingway House and find out all about the city's history. There is no way you could ever be bored in this beautiful location, which makes it ideal for a spring break choice.
If you don't mind a somewhat longer trip on your spring break destination, Barcelona might be ideal for you. It has a tremendous culture and history, and its beauty routinely attracts hordes of visitors from many different countries. The nightlife is fantastic in Barcelona, and there are a number of gorgeous beaches, as well as some great opportunities for shopping, clubbing, and dining, along the fabled boardwalk of the city.
This city has become a premier selection for students on spring break, since it provides a perfect blend of beach activities and nightlife. During the daytime, you can enjoy the sun and sand at luxurious South Beach, then enjoy a fine dining experience while appreciating the Art Deco landscape of Miami. At night, you'll have a number of clubs to choose from, and the streets themselves are alive with activity, to keep you energized all through the night.
Denver may not be one of the cities that immediately comes to mind when you think about the best venues for a spring break vacation. However, there's an awful lot to do there, and you can enjoy the spectacular scenery of the mountain ranges which are immediately adjacent to the city. Even in springtime, there are some slopes still covered with snow that will be ideal for skiing and possibly snowboarding. There are also plenty of activities scheduled for Red Rocks Amphitheater, where a number of concerts are hosted every year. At night, you can head downtown and spend some time in one of the many nightclubs which offer live music and entertainment.
NCAA March Madness
In a move that many sports insiders anticipated, the NCAA has canceled both the men's and women's basketball tournaments four 2020 due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. This was something that many people saw coming, as one conference after another canceled its championship tournament the day before the NCAA's announcement.
With virtually all the conferences canceling their scheduled tournaments, there really was no point in staging the nationwide championship anymore. It would have been impossible to determine seedings and brackets without the normal elimination and advancement processes in place. On Thursday, March 12, the NCAA announced that all remaining winter and spring championship events would be canceled immediately.
Reason for the cancellations
NCAA President Mark Emmert, in conjunction with the Board of Governors made the decision based on the threat to public health made by the coronavirus, and the wishes of the organization to avoid contributing to the spread of the pandemic. The announcement also referenced decisions made by the conferences themselves, which would have made it impossible to conduct the tournament in any case.
This move came as no surprise, given the fact that the National Basketball Association had already suspended the remainder of its season the day before, after one of its players tested positive for the virus. On Wednesday, the NCAA originally announced that the tournament would still be held, but that all games would be played in empty arenaa, with only essential personnel and some family members in attendance. That decision was superseded the very next day, after both the NBA action and the cancellation of conference championships by all the major conferences.
Economic impact of the cancellation
The NCAA March Madness tournament is by far the most lucrative event in all of collegiate sports, with the men's Division I basketball tournament routinely generating in the neighborhood of $900 million from the marketing rights and the television rights alone. That figure constitutes a significant portion of the NCAA's annual income, and the $933 million that it earned from the 2019 tournament was a major part of its 2020 budget.
This means that all revenue from the broadcast rights could effectively be wiped out, along with all the ticket revenue which would have been coming in. Obviously this will not bode well for the NCAA's basketball budget for 2021, but it is presently way too early to consider alternatives for making up the shortfall. It is likely however, that NCAA President Mark Emmert will be forced to consider that very possibility in the near future, in light of this year's cancellation of the tournament.
One aspect of the tournament cancellation which remains unclear is how that decision will impact deals that the NCAA has with television networks TNT and CBS, which shared the broadcast rights to this year's tournament. If the NCAA is forced to forfeit the money it would have received for broadcast rights, that will of course constitute another major blow to its incoming revenue, and that is likely to have major consequences in the future.
Facts About St. Patrick's Day
With St. Patrick's Day upon us, you can bet that the ranks of the Irish will be swollen by millions of part-time Irishmen who discover their inner leprechaun at this time every year. To enhance your appreciation of St. Patrick's Day, here are some facts you might not know about the annual celebration.
Source for the celebration
St. Patrick is one of the most well-known and revered saints in all of Ireland. According to ancient legends, he was responsible for bringing Christianity to the island, he helped free Ireland from an infestation of snakes, and he also made the shamrock extremely fashionable. For over 1,500 years now, the holiday has commemorated St. Patrick's death and has been treated as a religious holiday in the country ever since.
The official holiday
Despite its popularity as a religious holiday for all this time, St. Patrick's Day has only been celebrated officially by the country beginning in 1903. St. Patrick's Day usually occurs during Lent, and since most of Ireland is Catholic, the holiday was always celebrated in a somber mood with a number of quiet and reverent activities. That all changed during the 1960's, when a new law was passed in Ireland that opened up all pubs in the country, and that injected considerably more life into the celebrations.
Supposedly, Saint Patrick made use of shamrocks (which are also known as clovers) in order to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity in the Catholic faith. The Celts had a firm belief that each leaf on a clover plant had a specific meaning, so Saint Patrick took advantage of this by using the shamrock as a teaching tool. He founded a number of churches, monasteries, and schools, and passed along his personal preference for shamrocks to many of these institutions.
Ridding Ireland of snakes
While this tradition has been handed down through the ages, biologists tell us that Ireland was never actually home to any snakes whatsoever. That leaves us with the conclusion that the snakes must have been a metaphor representing paganism, and it's this paganism which was really eliminated in the country by Saint Patrick.
St. Patrick's Heritage
Surprisingly, Saint Patrick himself was not really of Irish descent. He was actually British and his given name was Maewyn Succat. Legend has it that he was sold into slavery as a teenager, and at that point he became religious and managed to escape back to England. Then he became an ordained priest taking on the name of Patrick, and began his ministry by converting Irish Celtic pagans to a new belief in Christianity.
St. Patrick's Day parades
Many communities throughout the US observe St. Patrick's Day by staging a parade through town, and of course everyone wears their finest greens on that day, and some even manage to consume green-colored beer. You might be surprised to learn that all of the largest parades held to celebrate St. Patrick's Day occur outside Ireland. While parades are not as highly regarded within Ireland, they are definitely appreciated in a huge number of communities in this country and elsewhere around the world, where a number of Irish immigrants have concentrated.
Travel in Style, Class, and Comfort
When you're traveling to or from an airport, especially a really busy one like O'Hare Aiport in Chicago, it's very easy to run into a lot of traffic which can interfere with arriving on time, and which can degrade your experience on the trip. All that can be avoided by engaging the services of a luxury transport service like Second City Livery Service, where skilled chauffeurs can transport you to and from the airport in style, class, and comfort, so that instead of a hassle, your experience becomes one of enjoyment and satisfaction. Here's why traveling with Second City Livery Service will be your very best option when going to the airport, or coming away from it to go home or to your office.
The best travel experience
When you're willing to pay more than for just simple cab fare, you have a right to expect a bit more in the way of services and accommodations, and that's exactly what you get when you ride to the airport in one of our Executive Mercedes Sprinter Vans or one of our Executive Mini-Buses. Regardless of which transport mode you should choose, you can expect your airport ride to be totally comfortable, with plenty of legroom and comfortable seating, no matter how many other clients might be in the same van or mini-bus.
Our mini-buses are several cuts above what you would ordinarily think of as a bus, since they are equipped with every kind of comfort that a passenger might want, and they are also modern, stylish vehicles which are the envy of the industry. If you were to be transported to the airport in a personal limousine, you could hardly have better accommodations than you would in either our Executive Mini-Buses or our Executive Mercedes Sprinter Vans. When you arrange for this kind of transportation, everyone is treated like an executive, and that means being pampered right from the moment you set foot in the vehicle, right up until you are dropped off at your destination.
If you should have any questions about the services we provide, or if you'd like to arrange for pickup/dropoff at the airport on a specific date, please do contact us, either by calling or by visiting our website. We are confident that once you've traveled with us, you won't want to use any other transportation method in the Chicago area. We encourage you to read online reviews of our service, and we think you'll find that customers are universally satisfied with our service, which not only meets the needs of our clients, but most often also exceeds their expectations.
Maybe you've tried other services and found them somewhat lacking, but when you use our transport service, we are confident that you'll love it the very first time, and that you'll want to use it again and again. We are ready and waiting to serve you in every way possible, so contact us at your earliest opportunity, and arrange for the most comfortable and most stylish transport service in the entire Second City region.
NBA All-Star Weekend 2020 - Chicago is Pumped!
The city of Chicago is buzzing about the upcoming NBA All-Star Weekend, when all the league's biggest and brightest stars will be in town, along with all the national media coverage typically attending such an event. As always, there are a number of high-profile events which have been scheduled, leading up to the 69th All-Star showcase game itself on Sunday. Anyone wishing to attend particular events would be well-advised to get their tickets early at this website, since there is bound to be a rush as the time of the game draws nearer.
Activities on Friday, Feb. 14th
The festivities kick off on Friday with a practice being held at noon for the NBA Rising Stars, which will feature many of the game's youngest new stars, and those who will be the future dominant players in the league. At 5:00 p.m. that same day there will be a formal announcement of the 2020 Hall of Fame class, with this year's inductees being identified.
At 7:00 p.m. there will be an All-Star Celebrities game played, which will feature past heroes from the sport, as well as other well-known public figures who enjoy the sport and are lending their talents to the proceedings. At 9:00 p.m., the actual NBA Rising Stars game will be played, and everyone will get a glimpse of tomorrow's stars competing against each other.
Saturday, Feb. 15th
The fun starts at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday with an NBA All-Star practice, to be followed by Media Day in which players respond to questions posed by the media, and some typically light-hearted banter which usually takes place between players and media. At 7:00 p.m. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will address the media on the state of the sport, and respond to any questions posed by media members.
Afterward at 8:00 p.m., there will be the special event known as the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, where players will demonstrate some of the special talents they have acquired in pursuit of their NBA dream. Next, there will be a 3-point contest in which players will attempt to make as many 3-point baskets as possible to beat out the competition. Finally, there will be the perennial fan favorite, the Slam-Dunk Contest, in which players will showcase their ability to perform all kinds of acrobatic slam dunks that show off their athletic abilities.
The Big Day on Feb. 16th
Starting at 11:00 a.m., there will be a brunch held for the NBA Legends, and fans will have the opportunity to see some of the great players from bygone eras, all gathered in one place. The big game itself is scheduled to begin at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday evening, and that's when all the excitement comes to a climax. All the greatest players in the game today will be showing off their very best moves and their most athletic achievements for fans and for the cameras, so future players can be inspired, and so current fans can enjoy the sheer athleticism and sportsmanship of today's best basketball players.
Global Warming and the Effect of Wildfires
Unless you've been living in a cave for the last six months, you have undoubtedly heard about the unprecedented wildfires which have been consuming the Australian landscape and causing a wildlife kill-off unknown in all history. More than one billion animals are estimated to have perished in the raging wildfires, along with 25 humans, and more than 15 million acres of land. Those figures are from early January, and the totals since then are even higher and more impressive. So what's behind this unparalleled increase in wildfires? According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, it's climate change which has been triggered by human behaviors.
Humans have played a major role in the increase and severity of these wildfires, although they have not been responsible for triggering any greater numbers of them. Once started however, they are becoming far more destructive because the temperature is higher, there is less precipitation to counteract the fires, and the wildfire season has been extended as a result of the generally hot and dry conditions. This means that more wildfires are being generated, and that they are causing more damage when they happen.
Global warming impact
Since 1950, Southern Australia has seen an increase in temperature of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, and that is one of the major culprits in making wildfires more numerous and more intense. In present-day Australia, the effects of continuing increases in temperature, along with a corresponding diminution of rainfall have had catastrophic results. In 2019, measurements for heat and precipitation set national records, as it was both the hottest and driest year ever recorded. December of last year was the second hottest month on record, and not coincidentally, that's when a number of the biggest and most intense wildfires were set off.
Scientists are well aware that natural causes are not to blame, because there have not been any natural elements which have increased or gone out of control in the last century - only humans producing more carbon-trapping gases has been on the increase. That has made droughts which commonly occur in the country much worse and much longer, because they now occur in a setting which is much hotter and drier. With plant life drier from the more frequent droughts, they ignite much easier than before, and that means more wildfires.
Input from the global community
Virtually all scientists around the globe are unanimous in attributing Australia's wildfires to human-induced climate change, and that is a very scary prospect, because human influence has still not been checked, so all those forces are presumably still in effect and still on the increase. The Australian Commissioner of Fire and Rescue is adamant in declaring that climate change is the agent responsible for super-charging the risk for natural disasters, and is not optimistic about this being reversed anytime in the near future.
U.S. scientists concur with that assessment, adding that human-caused climate change is a mechanism which acts as a multiplier to the existing threat of disaster, increasing it by several times its normal rate of risk. While some people are already engaged in trying to reduce this human-induced impact, it is already possible that a threshold has been reached which makes the effect irreversible.