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16 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate in September

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Summer is (unofficially) over, but don't despair; there's still plenty to celebrate in September—even after Labor Day's long weekend has wrapped. These holidays are all fairly innocuous, but if you do take issue with something said here, just remember: it's Be Kind To Editors and Writers Month.

1. The many month-long celebrations in September

In addition to being extra sweet to your favorite Mental Flossers, there are a whole host of other groups to be honored this month. All September, take time to celebrate Fall Hat Month, Happy Cat Month, National Honey Month, National Mushroom Month (maybe not together with the honey), National Milkshake Month, Shameless Promotion Month (follow me on twitter @HannahRKeyser), Sea Cadet Month, One-On-One Month and, as hopefully follows from the preceding, Pleasure Your Mate Month.

2. September 4: Newspaper Carrier Day

Celebrated annually on the anniversary of the hiring of Barney Flaherty as the first paperboy back on September 4, 1833 by Benjamin Day, publisher of the New York Sun.

3. September 5: Be Late For Something Day

Well, if you insist.

4. September 7: National Grandparents' Day

Held annually on the first Sunday after Labor Day since 1978. Many other countries have their own version sometime during the year and, unlike the U.S., they don't all make grandmothers and grandfathers share a day.

5. September 10: Swap Ideas Day

This is less of a celebration and more of a reminder to not hoard good ideas—they're much more useful out in the open.

6. September 13: Kids Take Over The Kitchen Day

This feel-good celebration started by Young Chefs Academy is designed to teach the highly important and oft-overlooked life skill: cooking.

7. September 14: National Hug Your Hound Day

Not to be confused with National Dog Day (August 26) or National Puppy Day (March 23), this holiday, in just its second year of existence, hopes to increase awareness of dog-friendly urban spaces by encouraging pet owners to shower their pooch with affection.

8. September 16: Anne Bradstreet Day

Photo courtesy of Sarnold17 via Wikimedia Commons

September 16 was officially proclaimed a holiday by the governor of Massachusetts to honor an under-appreciated figure in the history of American literature. Anne Bradstreet, who emigrated to the colonies along with her family in 1630, is considered to be America's first poet for her 1650 work, The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America, published, supposedly, without her knowledge.

9. September 18: Hug A Greeting Card Writer Day

If you can find one—as far as I can tell, they only exist in quirky romantic movies.

10. September 19: International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Perhaps the most widely-known offbeat holiday, because who doesn't relish the chance to call everyone "matey"?

11. September 22: American Business Women's Day

First recognized by Congressional resolution in 1983, this honoring of the female half of the workforce is celebrated annually on the anniversary of the 1949 founding date of the American Business Women's Association.

12. September 22: Hobbit Day

On the birthday of both Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, J.R.R. Tolkien fans celebrate all things Lord of the Rings. It is also the day that determines the larger celebration of Tolkien Week.

13. September 24: National Punctuation Day

Take time, once a year, to appreciate the difference a well-placed comma or semicolon makes in reading comprehension; I know I will.

14. September 26: Hug A Vegan Day

Unless they're also a greeting card writer—then I think you're still covered.

15. September 27: Fish Amnesty Day

The fish probably won't know it, but PETA calls for one day of no fishing to give our finned friends a break.

16. September 29: National Attend Your Grandchild's Birth Day

It's unclear why this is a national event. Or how you're supposed to celebrate if your grandchild isn't born on September 29.

All photos courtesy of iStock unless otherwise noted.

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Big Questions
What Happened to the Physical Copy of the 'I Have a Dream' Speech?
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On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and gave a speech for the ages, delivering the oratorical masterpiece "I Have a Dream" to nearly 250,000 people.

When he was done, King stepped away from the podium, folded his speech, and found himself standing in front of George Raveling, a former Villanova basketball player who, along with his friend Warren Wilson, had been asked to provide extra security around Dr. King while he was speaking. "We were both tall, gangly guys," Raveling told TIME in 2003. "We didn't know what we were doing but we certainly made for a good appearance."

Moved by the speech, Raveling saw the folded papers in King’s hands and asked if he could have them. King gave the young volunteer the speech without hesitation, and that was that.

“At no time do I remember thinking, ‘Wow, we got this historic document,’” Raveling told Sports Illustrated in 2015. Not realizing he was holding what would become an important piece of history in his hands, Raveling went home and stuck the three sheets of paper into a Harry Truman biography for safekeeping. They sat there for nearly two decades while Raveling developed an impressive career coaching NCAA men’s basketball.

In 1984, he had recently taken over as the head coach at the University of Iowa and was chatting with Bob Denney of the Cedar Rapids Gazette when Denney brought up the March on Washington. That's when Raveling dropped the bomb: “You know, I’ve got a copy of that speech," he said, and dug it out of the Truman book. After writing an article about Raveling's connection, the reporter had the speech professionally framed for the coach.

Though he displayed the framed speech in his house for a few years, Raveling began to realize the value of the piece and moved it to a bank vault in Los Angeles. Though he has received offers for King’s speech—one collector wanted to purchase the speech for $3 million in 2014—Raveling has turned them all down. He has been in talks with various museums and universities and hopes to put the speech on display in the future, but for now, he cherishes having it in his possession.

“That to me is something I’ll always be able to look back and say I was there,” Raveling said in the original Cedar Rapids Gazette article. “And not only out there in that arena of people, but to be within touching distance of him. That’s like when you’re 80 or 90 years old you can look back and say ‘I was in touching distance of Abraham Lincoln when he made the Gettysburg Address.’"

“I have no idea why I even asked him for the speech,” Raveling, now CEO of Coaching for Success, has said. “But I’m sure glad that I did.”

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Live Smarter
3 Reasons Why Your New Year's Resolutions Fail—and How to Fix Them
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You don’t need a special day to come up with goals, but New Year’s Day is as good a time as any to build better habits. The problem is, by the time February rolls around, our best laid plans have often gone awry. Don’t let it happen this year: Heed these three simple tips for fail-proof resolutions.

PROBLEM 1: THEY’RE TOO OVERWHELMING

Let’s say your goal is to pay off $5000 worth of credit card debt this year. Since you're giving yourself a long timeframe (all year) to pay it down, you end up procrastinating or splurging, telling yourself you’ll make up for it later. But the longer you push it off, the bigger and more overwhelming your once-reasonable goal can feel.

Solution: Set Smaller Milestones

The big picture is important, but connecting your goal to the present makes it more digestible and easier to stick with. Instead of vowing to pay off $5000 by the end of next December, make it your resolution to put $96 toward your credit card debt every week, for example.

In a study from the University of Wollongong, researchers asked subjects to save using one of two methods: a linear model and a cyclical model. In the linear model, the researchers told subjects that saving for the future was important and asked them to set aside money accordingly. In contrast, they told the cyclical group:

This approach acknowledges that one’s life consists of many small and large cycles, that is, events that repeat themselves. We want you to think of the personal savings task as one part of such a cyclical life. Make your savings task a routinized one: just focus on saving the amount that you want to save now, not next month, not next year. Think about whether you saved enough money during your last paycheck cycle. If you saved as much as you wanted, continue with your persistence. If you did not save enough, make it up this time, with the current paycheck cycle.

When subjects used this cyclical model, focusing on the present, they saved more than subjects who focused on their long-term goal.

PROBLEM 2: THEY'RE TOO VAGUE

“Find a better job” is a worthy goal, but it's a bit amorphous. It's unclear what "better" means to you, and it’s difficult to plot the right course of action when you’re not sure what your desired outcome is. Many resolutions are vague in this way: get in shape, worry less, spend more time with loved ones.

Solution: Make Your Goal a SMART One

To make your goal actionable, it should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. When you set specific parameters and guidelines for your goal, it makes it easier to come up with an action plan. Under a bit more scrutiny, "spend more time with loved ones" might become "invite my best friends over for dinner every other Sunday night." This new goal is specific, measurable, time-bound—it ticks all the boxes and tells you exactly what you want and how to get there.

PROBLEM 3: YOU FELL FOR THE “FALSE FIRST STEP”

“A false first step is when we try to buy a better version of ourselves instead of doing the actual work to accomplish it,” Anthony Ongaro of Break the Twitch tells Mental Floss. “The general idea is that purchasing something like a heart rate monitor can feel a lot like we're taking a step towards our fitness goals,” Ongaro says. “The purchase itself can give us a dopamine release and a feeling of satisfaction, but it hasn't actually accomplished anything other than spending some money on a new gadget.”

Even worse, sometimes that dopamine is enough to lure you away from your goal altogether, Ongaro says. “That feeling of satisfaction that comes with the purchase often is good enough that we don't feel the need to actually go out for a run and use it.”

Solution: Start With What You Already Have

You can avoid this trap by forcing yourself to start your goal with the resources you already have on hand. “Whether the goal is to learn a new language or improve physical fitness, the best way to get started and avoid the false first step is to do the best you can with what you already have,” Ongaro says. “Start really small, even learning one new word per day for 30 days straight, or just taking a quick walk around the block every day.”

This isn’t to say you should never buy anything related to your goal, though. As Ongaro points out, you just want to make sure you’ve already developed the habit a bit first. “Establish a habit and regular practice that will be enhanced by a product you may buy,” he says. “It's likely that you won't even need that gadget or that fancy language learning software once you actually get started ... Basically, don't let buying something be the first step you take towards meaningful change in your life.”

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