Today is Halloween, otherwise known as All-Hallows-Eve. It's a former harvest festival, but in recent years it's an occasion when kids dress up as adults, and seek candy and other high-carb calories in exchange for giving assurances that no harm will befall the benefactor. The recent freak snowstorm in the northeast United States and subsequent power outages may deter some children (and/or their parents) from trekking through the snow and slush, or from last minute shopping for Halloween goodies and costumes. Tomorrow, these goodies be heavily discounted at the local pharmacies and shopping malls. Or maybe the marketers will arrange to delay celebrating Halloween, and modify the late-November Thanksgiving holiday to become a combined turkey-cranberry sauce-and-candycorn holiday where people dress up as Pilgrims, Indians, and ghosts and goblins and princesses and movie characters?
Today is also the day that our weary planet gains its seven-billionth human being, according to some authorities. Obviously, exactly when and where baby number 7,000,000,000 will be born is an extraordinarily inexact guesstimate, but it's only a step towards further upward population expansion unless a deadly pandemic (worse than SARS, AIDS, H1N1 and other alphabet-soup apparitions combined) wipes a few zeroes off the population estimates. I haven't seen the movie "Contagion," which is touted as a "thriller centered on the threat posed by a deadly disease and an international team of doctors contracted by the CDC to deal with the outbreak." Wonder if we should wait until the local library has the DVD for free, or go to the local DVD vending machine and spend a buck - soon to be a buck-twenty at one major brand.
Tomorrow starts a series of annual diabetes events. "Diabetes Month" has been routinely celebrated in November - although it's sometimes renamed. It's "Diabetes Awareness Month" according to some folks, and "American Diabetes Month" according to others. (What, non-Americans celebrate on different dates? What date do Canadians celebrate Diabetes Month? By the way, there's also a "Diabetes Week" in Australia, The Australian Diabetes Council apparently thinks "National Diabetes Week" occurs in July. But then, Australia celebrates summer in mid-winter, so they can be forgiven for thinking July is November).
But it's generally agreed that World Diabetes Day is coming up in mid-November. Led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and affiliated associations, World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations-sponsored Day with the passage of a United Nation Resolution in 2007. The theme for 2009-2013 is "Diabetes Education and Prevention."
One of the coolest ideas for WDD IMHO is lighting buildings and monuments with the color blue. Over 900 were lit in blue last year; this year, it's planned for a repeat performance. Sadly, I don't see some famous places yet listed as going blue in 2011. The Empire State Building in New York City stands out as a major omission on the list: it went blue in 2009 (there's a picture on-line) and 2010. As of today, the ESB's website doesn't yet indicate the building's colors for November 14 - hopefully they again will go blue.
[Editor's Note: Checking the ESB website in March, 2012, the ESB apparently went blue one day late (November 15, 2011) -- believe it or not, "In honor of the 5th Anniversary of Mary Poppins on Broadway." Well, at least they went blue...]