Saturday, April 7, 2018

Gone But Never Forgotten: April 9 is National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day

First proclaimed by Former President Ronald Reagan in 1987, National Former Prisoners of War Recognition Day honors the courageous men and women who endured brutal treatment at the hands of their captors, separation from family and who displayed incredible endurance and faith during their captivity.
 
On this day in 1942, the largest number of U.S. forces were captured by Japanese troops in the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. After battling through extreme conditions and prolonged battles, the captured troops were forced to march 65 miles to the prison camp (The "Bataan Death March"). Without medical attention, food or water thousands died.

The mistreatment continued for those who survived the brutal journey: In the compounds, deep in the jungle, the hardships, brutality, and suffering lasted more than two years for those who could survive.
 
Many POWs endured conditions much like this. These heroes deserve a day of recognition. An annual presidential proclamation is signed for National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day and government officials, veterans, civic and private organizations observe the day with ceremonies and events. Some states require the POW/MIA flag to be flown on April 9.

According to the Department of Defense's POW/MIA Accounting Agency, currently more than 82,000 Americans remain missing from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the Gulf Wars/other conflicts. Out of the 82,000 missing, 75% of the losses are located in the Indo-Pacific

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Lunar New Year! (Gung Hey Fat Choy)


Since I started playing soccer with a bunch of Chinese guys, I've been exposed to a lot of Chinese culture. Last weekend's game was noticeably short on players, so I asked one of the regulars where everyone was. He said that many of the other regulars had traveled to China to visit family during Lunar New Year.

He explained that in China, travel leading up to Lunar New Year represents the largest seasonal human migration. This piqued my curiosity... hence this post, which I hope you find illuminating and educational.

Widely celebrated in China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam (even though the lunar calendar originated in the Chinese culture), Lunar New Year marks the first day of the year in the lunar calendar. Celebrations of the Lunar New Year end on the 15th day of the first lunar month.

Each year in the lunar calendar is represented by a zodiac animal sign in a cycle of 12: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.  2018 is the Year of the Dog. Dog is the eleventh in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac sign. Other “Years of the Dog” include 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, and 2006.

The Chinese regard the dog as an auspicious animal: If a dog happens to come to a house, it symbolizes the coming of fortune. According to Chinese legend, the invincible God Erlang used a loyal wolfhound to help him capture monsters.

China's most important festival falls on Friday; people travel to either return to their hometowns or vacation destinations. Photos of crammed airport terminals, standing-room-only trains and traffic-filled highways reinforce the fact that the Lunar New Year travel rush represents the world's largest seasonal human migration.

During Lunar New Year, celebrators usually wear red or other brightly-colored clothes: The color red symbolizes good luck, which also acts to scare away spirits of bad fortune (just as firecrackers would).

Like most cultures, food is an important part of the holiday. Different dishes/food symbolize good fortune: For example, having oranges in a mound that represents a mound of gold, or spring rolls symbolizing gold bars. Traditionally, in the first five days of the New Year, people eat long noodles to symbolize long life. On the 15th and final day of the New Year, round dumplings shaped like the full moon are shared as a sign of the family unit and of perfection.

Instead of exchanging gifts, elders give the younger generation money in lucky packets (Lucky Money).  It is believed that if the children keep their Lucky Money from their parents under the pillow over New Year's Eve, this translates into praying for their parents' longevity.

The typical New Year’s greeting in the subject line, above, means: "May you come into much riches!").

Check out this daily guide for what celebrators might do each day of the Lunar New Year.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Of Moving, Marketing & Family Dynamics: Tips to Prepare for Your Next Move

America is always on the move--but our peripatetic activity comes at a high price. If a move is in your family's future, check out this blog entry by me and my colleague Alexis Hall. In it, you'll discover information about how to handle the fiscal and emotional costs of moving.
 

The 2017 National Movers Study by United Van Lines ranks states by the percentage of people leaving the state against those moving in. The ten states from which people move the most are Kansas, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, Kentucky, Utah and Wisconsin.

In general, a person in the United States is expected to move 11.7 times in his or her lifetime, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. How much you'll spend on each move depends on more variables than you can count on two hands (but here's a good moving calculator to start your moving math).

Although the Census Bureau doesn’t directly ask Americans about how many times they’ve moved, their estimated figure comes from two pieces of information: which age groups are most likely to move in a given year and the overall composition of the U.S. population.

Between 2012 and 2013, 28 million Americans 15 and older moved — that’s 11% of the population in that age group. Dig behind that number and you'll see there’s a lot more to it than age: America's wealthiest individuals are most likely to stay put (7% of Americans with an annual income of $100,000 or more moved), those earning $5,000 or less had a "move rate" of 13%.

chalabi-datalab-moves

In terms of family dynamics, you might think it's easier and less stressful to plan your move without involving your kids. The opposite is true: kids are more likely to be stressed if they aren't part of the process. Involving them helps them to feel in control over some of the upcoming changes. Plus, believe it or not, your kids can actually help you move (I know, crazy concept, right?).

Here are some tips to plan and execute a smooth move:

  1. Pack up your child’s room last using these handy tips from The Spruce.
  2. Stick with your usual meal and bedtime routines to give your child as much consistency as possible.
  3. Hire professional movers to handle the heavy lifting while you supervise and keep an eye on the kiddos.
  4. Psychology Today notes that letting your child help make some decisions post-move can help them make positive choices in the future.
  5. Ask friends to help look after the kids and consider dog boarding for Fido to ease moving day woes.
  6. Let your kids help unpack to get them excited about the new house.
  7. Help them mentally prepare before the move, and help ease their anxiety afterward. Some kids may struggle for up to 6 months after a move, and that’s OK.
  8. Pump them up for their new school so that is less scary and more exciting on the first day.
  9. Help your kids create a memory book of their old friends, neighborhood, and home so they can revisit their past on lonely days.
  10. Don’t neglect your own self-care: you can’t help your kids if you’re overwhelmed, yourself!
Now that you have some ideas for including the whole family in your move, make it a game or a contest. Encourage your family members to get creative with decorating ideas, organizing the rooms, etc. The more you involve family members--especially kids--in planning and executing your move, the more you'll all feel supported, helped... and ready for your next inevitable move!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Veterans Day: Honoring Those Who Served... With Free Food (?!)

In November 1919, following "The War to End All Wars," President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day:
"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"
On May 13, 1938, the U.S. Congress approved an Act (5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) making the 11th of November each year a legal holiday: A day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be celebrated and known as "Armistice Day."
Armistice Day was primarily set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in U.S. history; and after American forces fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress--at the urging of the veterans service organizations--amended the Act of 1938 by replacing the word "Armistice" with "Veterans."
The approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, established November 11th as a day to honor American veterans of all wars. Including this young Lieutenant.
These days veterans are thanked publicly and effusively for our service but that wasn't always the case. And while I can't speak for my fellow Veterans, only for myself, I certainly appreciate the sentiments. I feel honored to have served my country during wartime. As I age, I realize that service was among the greatest privileges and challenges of my life.

 
So I'm not shy about accepting free stuff on Veterans Day. With that in mind, below are 2017 restaurant specials. Bon appetit.
  • 54th Street Grill -- Veterans and active duty military get a free entrée on Veterans Day.
  • *NEW* Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza -- Veterans and active military get a complimentary small order of meatballs with ricotta cheese on Veterans Day.
  • Applebee’s -- Veterans and active duty military get a free meal from a limited menu.
  • Arooga’s -- Veterans and active duty military get a free pretzel from a fixed menu.
  • Back Yard Burgers --Active duty service members and veterans get a free Back Yard Classic Burger.
  • Bakers Square-- Veterans and active duty military get a free breakfast from a set menu.
  • Bar Louie – Veterans and active military personnel get a free flatbread or burger.
  • BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse -- Service members get a complimentary entree up to $12.95 by presenting a military ID or proof of service on November 10 and 11.
  • Black Angus Steakhouse -- Veterans and active duty military get an 8 oz. Top Sirloin steak dinner with mashed potatoes and broccoli for a discounted price.
  • Bob Evans -- Veterans and active military personnel get a free meal from a select menu.
  • Bonanza Steakhouses -- Veterans and active duty military get a free buffet.
  • Bruegger's Bagels -- Veterans and active duty military members get a free small drip coffee at participating locations.
  • Burntwood Tavern -- Veterans and active military get a free lunch or dinner.
  • Calhoun's -- Veterans and active duty military get a free meal.
  • California Pizza Kitchen – Veterans and active military receive a free entrée from a special menu.
  • *NEW* Cantina Laredo -- Veterans and active duty military get a complimentary meal up to $20 on Veterans Day.
  • Cattlemens -- Active, inactive, and retired military personnel get a complimentary 8 oz. Sirloin Steak dinner on Veterans Day.
  • CentraArchy Restaurants -- Veterans and active duty service members get a free entrée on November 12.
  • Chevys Fresh Mex -- On 11/11 from 11am-10pm, veterans and active military personnel get a complimentary Fresh Mex 3-Item Combo.
  • Chipotle-- Active duty, National Guard, and retired military, military spouses with ID, and veterans get a buy-one-get-one (BOGO) deal from 5 p.m. to close on 11/7.
  • Chuck E. Cheese's -- Veterans get one free personal 1-topping pizza on 11/11.
  • Cicis Pizza -- Get a free pizza buffet with Military ID on 11/11.
  • Cotton Patch Cafe -- Veterans and active duty military get a free chicken fried steak or chicken fried chicken on 11/11.
  • Country Cookin -- Veterans receive a free meal from 2 pm – 8 pm on 11/14.
  • Cracker Barrel -- Veterans get a complimentary slice of Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake on 11/11.
  • Denny’s -- Active, inactive and retired military personnel get a free Build Your Own Grand Slam on 11/10, from 5 a.m. -  noon.
  • Dunkin' Donuts -- Veterans and active duty military get a free donut on 11/11 at participating locations.
  • Eat'n Park -- Active and former military personnel get a 10% discount throughout November.
  • El Fenix -- Active duty and retired military members get a free meal from a select menu on 11/11.
  • Famous Dave’s -- On Veterans Day, former and current military personnel get a free Two Meat Salute.
  • Farmer Boys -- Veterans and active duty military get a free Big Cheese cheeseburger on 11/10.
  • *NEW* FATZ Cafe -- Veterans and active military get a free Calabash Chicken entree on 11/11 from 9 am - 3 pm.
  • *NEW* Fazoli's -- Active, inactive and retired military personnel get a free spaghetti with marinara or meat sauce from 11/10 - 12.
  • Firebirds Wood Fired Grill -- Active duty military and veterans get a free lunch or dinner entrée on 11/10 at participating locations.
  • Friendly's -- Free breakfast, lunch or dinner from a limited menu on Veterans Day.
  • Gatti’s Pizza -- Veterans and active military members get a free buffet or a free medium 1-topping pizza for carryout on Veterans Day.
  • *NEW* Glory Days Grill -- Veterans get a free appetizer or a regular order of boneless or grilled boneless wings on Veterans Day.
  • Golden Corral -- Military Appreciation Night free dinner on 11/13, from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. Military retirees, veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reserves.
  • Green Mill Restaurant and Bar -- Veterans and active duty military get a free meal on Veterans Day.
  • *NEW* Greene Turtle -- Veterans and active duty military receive a free meal up to $12 on Veterans Day.
  • *NEW* Hamburger Stand -- Veterans and active duty military get a free hamburger, regular fries and a small Pepsi on Veterans Day.
  • Hickory Tavern -- Veterans and active duty military get 50% off food and non-alcoholic beverages from a fixed menu on Veterans Day.
  • Hooters -- Veterans and active duty military get a free meal from a select menu at participating locations on Veterans Day..
  • *NEW* Houlihan's -- Active military and veterans receive one free entrée from a select menu on Veterans Day.
  • Hy-Vee -- Veterans and active duty military members get a free breakfast buffet on Veterans Day.
  • IHOP -- On 11/10, participating restaurants offer veterans and active duty military free Red, White and Blue pancakes.
  • JJ’s Red Hots -- Veterans and active duty get a free meal including unlimited hot dogs, sausages, sides and non-alcoholic drinks all day on Veterans Day. 
  • Krystal -- Participating locations offer a free sausage biscuit to each person who presents a military ID from 6:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. on Veterans Day.
  • Little Caesars -- Veterans and active military members get a free $5 Lunch Combo from 11:00a.m. -  2:00p.m. on Veterans Day.
  • *NEW* Logan’s Roadhouse -- Veterans and active duty military get a free entree from a special menu on Veterans Day from 11-4.
  • Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ -- During November, active duty and veteran military personnel get 20% off. On Veterans Day, active duty military and veterans get a complimentary dessert on top of the 20%.
  • Margaritas Mexican Restaurant -- Veterans and active duty military get two complimentary entrees on Veterans Day., one for themselves and one for their significant others at participating locations.
  • Max & Erma's – On Veterans Day., participating locations offer veterans and active military personnel a free Best Cheeseburger in America.
  • McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants -- Veterans and Gold Star honorees (parents and spouse) get a free entrée from a special menu on 11/5.
  • Menchie's --  Veterans and active military personnel get their first 6 ounces of frozen yogurt for free on Veterans Day.
  • Mimi’s Cafe -- Veterans or active duty military personnel can select from a special menu on Veterans Day for free. Drink purchase required.
  • Mission BBQ -- Veterans and active duty military get a free sandwich and a slice of cake on Veterans Day.
  • *NEW* Native Grill & Wings -- Veterans and active duty service members receive any menu item up to $11.99 for free on Veterans Day.
  • Ninety Nine Restaurant and Pub -- On Veterans Day from 11 am - 4 pm, veterans and active military get a free meal with purchase of an entrée.
  • *NEW* O'Charley's – Veterans and active duty service members get a free $9.99er entree on Veterans Day.
  • On the Border -- Active and retired members of the military get a free combo meal on Veterans Day.
  • Outback Steakhouse – All active and retired service members get a free Bloomin' Onion and a beverage on Veterans Day. Additionally, 11/12 -11/16, military members get 20% off their check. Starting November 17, military get 10% off their check.
  • Pancho's Mexican Restaurant -- Veterans and active duty service members get a 25% discount on their bill (excluding alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages) on 11/11 and 11/13.
  • Ponderosa Steakhouse -- Veterans and active duty military get a free buffet on Veterans Day.
  • *NEW* Quaker Steak & Lube -- On Veterans Day, veterans and current service members get a complimentary or discounted meal of their choice.
  • *NEW* Red Hot & Blue -- Veterans receive a free entrée with the purchase of a second entrée and two drinks on Veterans Day. Coupon required.
  • Red Lobster -- Veterans, active duty military and reservists get a free appetizer or dessert from a limited menu on Veterans Day.
  • Red Robin – Veterans and active duty military get a free Red’s Tavern Double Burger with Bottomless Steak Fries on Veterans Day.
  • RibCrib -- Veterans and active military personnel receive a free meal from a special menu on Veterans Day.
  • Rock & Brews -- Veterans and active military personnel receive a complimentary meal on Veterans Day.
  • Ruby’s Diner -- Veterans and active duty military receive a free Ruby's adult entrée on Veterans Day.
  • Ruby Tuesday -- Veterans, active duty and reserve service members get a free appetizer on Veterans Day.
  • Shari's Cafe and Pies -- Current and former military get a free pancake breakfast all day on Veterans Day.
  • Shoney's -- Veterans and active duty service members get a free All You Care To Eat breakfast from 6am – 11am on Veterans Day.
  • Sizzler -- Active duty military and veterans a free lunch from a limited menu on Veterans Day until 4 p.m.
  • *NEW* Spaghetti Warehouse -- From 11/10 - 11/12 buy one entrée and get second entrée free. Coupon required.
  • Tap House Grill -- Active, inactive and retired military personnel get a complimentary meal on Veterans Day.
  • Texas Roadhouse -- Texas Roadhouse locations nationwide will offer veterans a free lunch on Veterans Day from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Offer good for active duty, retired or former U.S. military.
  • *NEW* Travel Centers of America -- On Veterans Day, veterans and active military get a complimentary meal from a select menu including a beverage.
  • Village Inn -- Veterans and active military personnel receive a free Inn-Credible V.I.B. Breakfast on Veterans Day.
  • White Castle -- Veterans and active duty military receive a free combo meal on Veterans Day.
  • Wienerschnitzel -- Veterans and active duty military receive a free Chili Dog, small fries and a small drink on Veterans Day.
  • Wild Wing Cafe -- Veterans eat for free from select items on Veterans Day at participating locations.
  • World of Beer – All veterans and current service members receive a free select draught beer or $5 off your check on Veterans Day.
  • *NEW* Yard House -- Veterans and active duty military get a complimentary appetizer on Veterans Day.