Archive: Apr 2018

Cinco de Mayo

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Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, is a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Cinco de Mayo 2018 occurs on Saturday, May 5. A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations.

In 1861, Benito Juárez—a lawyer and member of the indigenous Zapotec tribe—was elected president of Mexico. At the time, the country was in financial ruin after years of internal strife, and the new president was forced to default on debt payments to European governments.

In response, France, Britain and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz, Mexico, demanding repayment. Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew their forces.

France, however, ruled by Napoleon III

, decided to use the opportunity to carve an empire out of Mexican territory. Late in 1861, a well-armed French fleet stormed Veracruz, landing a large force of t

Certain that success would come swiftly, 6,000 French troops under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico. From his new headquarters in the north, Juárez rounded up a ragtag force of 2,000 loyal men—many of them either indigenous Mexicans or of mixed ancestry—and sent them to Puebla.

The vastly outnumbered and poorly supplied Mexicans, led by Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza, fortified the town and prepared for the French assault. On May 5, 1862, Lorencez gathered his army—supported by heavy artillery—before the city of Puebla and led an assault.

The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening, and when the French finally retreated they had lost nearly 500 soldiers. Fewer than 100 Mexicans had been killed in the clash.

Although not a major strategic win in the overall war against the French, Zaragoza’s success at the Battle of Puebla on May 5 represented a great symbolic victory for the Mexican government and bolstered the resistance movement. In 1867—thanks in part to military support and political pressure from the United States, which was finally in a position to aid its besieged neighbor after the end of the Civil War—France finally withdrew.

The same year, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, who had been installed as emperor of Mexico in 1864 by Napoleon, was captured and executed by Juárez’s forces. Puebla de Los Angeles was renamed for General Zaragoza, who died of typhoid fever months after his historic triumph there.

Within Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily observed in the state of Puebla, where Zaragoza’s unlikely victory occurred, although other parts of the country also take part in the celebration.

Traditions include military parades, recreations of the Battle of Puebla and other festive events. For many Mexicans, however, May 5 is a day like any other: It is not a federal holiday, so offices, banks and stores remain open.

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is widely interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with substantial Mexican-American populations.

Chicano activists raised awareness of the holiday in the 1960s, in part because they identified with the victory of indigenous Mexicans (such as Juárez) over European invaders during the Battle of Puebla.

Today, revelers mark the occasion with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing and traditional foods such as tacos and mole poblano. Some of the largest festivals are held in Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.

Many people outside Mexico mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican independence, which was declared more than 50 years before the Battle of Puebla.

Independence Day in Mexico (Día de la Independencia) is commemorated on September 16, the anniversary of the revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s famous “Grito de Dolores” (“Cry of Dolores”), a call to arms that amounted to a declaration of war against the Spanish colonial government in 1810.

 

Cleaning Tip – Cast Iron Outdoor Furniture

Durable and easy to maintain as cast-iron prices are, they can rust easily. Remove rust spots wit a wire brush or by sanding, then paint with a metal primer, followed by a coat of rust-inhibiting, exterior paint. Oil the hinges of the furniture to keep them from rusting.

 

 

Administrative Professionals Day

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Administrative Professionals Day highlights the important role of administrative professionals in all sectors of the modern economy worldwide. It is on the Wednesday of Administrative Professionals Week, which is on the last full week of April.

Celebrate Administrative Professionals Day

Administrative Professionals Day and Administrative Professionals Week are widely observed in many workplaces in the United States and other countries around the world. Many employers and supervisors arrange events to show their appreciation of the work carried out by administrative professionals, to highlight their importance to the organization and to enhance their work-related skills.

Public Life

Administrative Professionals Day is an observance but it is not a public holiday in the United States.

About Administrative Professionals Day

During World War II, there was an increased need for skilled administrative personnel, particularly in the United States. The National Secretaries Association was formed to recognize the contributions of secretaries and other administrative personnel to the economy, to support their personal development and to help attract people to administrative careers in the field. The association’s name was changed to Professional Secretaries International in 1981 and, finally, the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) in 1998.

These changes in name reflected the changing nature of the tasks, qualifications and responsibilities of the members of the organization. IAAP now has an international orientation and continues to provide education and training and set standards of excellence recognized by the business community on a global perspective. The organization’s vision is “to inspire and equip all administrative professionals to attain excellence”.

The first National Secretaries Week was organized in 1952 in conjunction with the United States Department of Commerce and various office supply and equipment manufacturers. The Wednesday of that week became known as National Secretaries Day. As the organization gained international recognition, the events became known as Professional Secretaries Week and Professional Secretaries Day. In 2000, IAAP announced that names of the week and the day were changed to Administrative Professionals Week and Administrative Professionals Day to keep pace with changing job titles and expanding responsibilities of the modern administrative workforce. Many work environments across the world observe this event.

 

Tax Day

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Many United States residents mark Tax Day as the deadline to file their income tax details to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The date is usually on or around April 15. This year it is April 16.  However, this deadline may be extended to accommodate holidays or extreme weather conditions.

What Do People Do?

A large proportion of residents of the USA have to inform the IRS of all income that they received in the previous fiscal year. Some groups, particularly veterans, pensioners and some low-income families, do not have to file a tax return unless they wish to qualify for certain types of income subsidy. Others may wait until the last moment to file their tax return and pay any money they owe. Some people may find that filing a tax return is complicated, while others may feel that they should not have to pay income tax. In the United States, income tax returns may be filed on paper or electronically. Now, people are encouraged to file a return via Internet as this is efficient and reduces the risk of mistakes being made or documents being lost in the mail.

Public Life

Tax Day is not a federal public holiday in the United States. Schools, post offices, stores and other businesses and organizations are open as usual. Public transport services run to their usual schedules and no extra congestion on highways is to be expected.

Background

Income tax was first introduced in the United States of America in 1861. A rate of three percent was levied on incomes above $800 per year and the resulting revenue was used to help fund the American Civil War effort. However, income tax was seen as unconstitutional and the law was repealed in 1872. The idea of a tax on personal income, at a rate of two percent, was reintroduced in the Revenue Act of 1894, but the legal status of this kind of tax was still unclear. In 1913, the “Sixteenth Amendment” to the Constitution of the United States was ratified. This cleared the way for the modern income tax system in the USA.

The details of the income tax system have changed greatly since 1913. The top rates of tax have varied enormously and were particularly high during the First and Second World Wars and the Great Depression. Individuals and families with very low levels of income do not have to pay income tax and may receive some subsidy via the tax system.

In 1913 Tax Day, or the filing deadline, was fixed on March 1. However, it was moved to March 15 in 1918 and April 15 in 1955, where it has remained since then. If April 15 falls on a Saturday, Sunday or a civil holiday, such as Patriot’s Day, the deadline is extended to the next working day. An extension due to a holiday may only affect certain states. In 2007, the residents of some states were granted an extension due to the disruption to public life in many areas caused by a huge Nor’easter storm. In some years in Washington DC, Emancipation Day may be the reason to extend the deadline for filing an income tax return (Tax Day). In 2007, the observance Emancipation Day in Washington DC had the effect of nationally extending the 2006 income tax filing deadline from April 16 to April 17. This 2007 date change was not discovered until after many forms went to print.

Spring Cleaning

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House Cleaning #5            

 

Spring is arriving upon us and with that comes flowers blooming, fresh cut grass and the chore of spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is a tradition that allows you to freshen up your home. Spring cleaning helps you focus on the parts of your home that have been neglected all winter long. Listed below you will find some tips to help you get the job done with special attention given to seasonal chores for the springy time of year.

The Kitchen

The Dining Room

The Living Areas

The Bedroom

The Bathroom

 

These are just some of the tips for spring cleaning that you could do in your home. If you need help in your spring cleaning endeavors, you could always hire a local cleaning company to come in and help you. The smallest amount of help could make a world of difference. Happy Spring and good luck with your spring cleaning adventures.

April Fool’s Day

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April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day is celebrated every year on April 1st by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes. The jokes and their victims are called April Fools. People playing April Fool jokes expose their prank by shouting April Fool.

April Fools’ Day has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery. Some historians have speculated that April Fools’ Day, dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar. The people who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1st and continued to celebrate it during the last week of march through April 1st became the butt of the jokes and hoaxes. Historians have also linked April Fools’ Day to ancient festival known as Hilaria, celebrated in Rome at the end od March and has people dressing up in disguises. There is also speculation that April Fools’ Day is tied to the vernal equinox, or the first day of spring, when Mother Nature fooled people with unpredictable weather.

In the modern times, people have gone great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day pranks. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and even Web sites have participated in the April 1st tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled audiences. For example, in 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch, who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour. Another example would be from 1998, when Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” which tricked tons of clueless customers when they requested the fake sandwich. That is just a couple of the pranks that big companies have played on people.

The practice of April Fool pranks and hoaxes are controversial and there are mixed opinions of the critics. There are both positive and negative sides to April Fools’ pranks. The positive side of April Fools’ can be good for one’s health, because it encourages jokes, hoaxes, pranks and good old belly laughs. With the laughter brings the benefits of stress relief and reducing strain on the heart. The negative side describes April Fools’ hoaxes as creepy, manipulative, rude and a bit nasty. Sometimes, April Fools’ jokes or hoaxes are misinterpreted, like stories that are intended as jokes are taken seriously. With the negative can come adverse effects, such as confusion, misinformation and even legal consequences. Just be careful with your April Fools’ pranks and think of others before you do them.