Labor Day explanation, courtesy of Shmuel and Columbine:
The New York Public Library Book of Popular Americana:
_Labor Day_ The first Monday in September, since 1894 a national holiday honoring workers. Congressional approval followed a decade of lobbying by the KNIGHTS OF LABOR, who in 1882 had sponsored a parade in New York City that took ten thousand workers off their jobs for a day. Labor Day signals the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of the school year.
_Knights of Labor_ A labor union founded in 1869. Open to workers regardless of race or level of skill, it grew rapidly under the leadership of Terence Powderly (1849-1924), and by 1886 had 700,000 members. In that year, the HAYMARKET RIOT dealt a severe blow to all employee activists, especially the Knights, who had led the movement for an eight-hour day. They were gradually overshadowed by Samuel GOMPERS's AFL.
From there to the American Heritage College Dictionary, 3rd Ed.:
_Labor Day_ *n.* The first Monday in September, observed as a holiday in some countries in honor of working people.
"Labor Day celebrates the labor rallies and related Haymarket Riot, and is properly held on the first of May, as it is in every country BUT America. We celebrate it on the wrong day, because if the Commies do it, we don't. (Well, that attitude's changed over the years; now it would just be too much trouble to move the holiday. Just remember that when people overseas are talking about Labor Day they almost always mean 1 May.)"
So there ya go. I love having other people to do my research for me. :-)
Journal-reader Sammy informs me that Ming Tsai, the guy on East Meets West, is in fact married to a lovely woman who Sammy thinks is named Pamela. I also found out Sunday that the professor I was developing a minor crush on (which I may continue to do, since I get to stare at her for an hour and a half twice a week during class), is also happily taken, with a girlfriend of long standing. It never rains but it pours.
On the bright side, I've been cooking up a storm, and really enjoying it. Made very traditional Sri Lankan food for dinner last night, mackerel curry and uppuma (a grain dish), like Amma used to make (actually, she still does make it, but anyway...). Cooked while reading the second Harry Potter book, _Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets_, which was delightful (I've discovered that I can do most cooking tasks while reading, including frying, stirring, mixing, and using the blender; I can even slice mushrooms, but I simply cannot mince onions with a book in one hand, or even one propped in front of me -- I must keep my eyes on the onions, not the page).
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, which is charming *and* a page-turner, but I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. It's won a ridiculous number of awards, and is creating a big old fuss on both sides of the Atlantic (British author), but I'm not sure why everything seems to think this is the best thing since Roald Dahl. Have they not read Diana Wynne Jones, or Patricia Wrede's Cimorene books? Both of those authors seem to have the same knack as Rowling (Harry Potter author), for creating books that work both on a kid level and an adult level. All of their books are clever and charming. Jones in particular also manages to work in some more serious stuff amidst all the goofiness. And those two are just off the top of my head -- I could probably come up with several more if I took a little time and thought about it. Publishing phenomena are weird (it would be tempting to go into a big Mary Doria Russell/The Sparrow digression here, but I will spare you this time).
This morning was very mellow; I made cream biscuit shortbread to go with the sliced strawberries and Cool Whip (I'm trying to adapt to being in America's heartland here -- and also to cut down a tiny bit on the calories, since normally I'd make whipped topping with heavy cream, which there was plenty of in the shortbread). I sliced up some chicken and sauteed it with olive oil and black pepper; that'll go on dark rye. I was originally going to use mustard on those sandwiches, but I don't have any! I thought I did! So I reconstituted some cranberries and sultanas in orange juice, pureed them in the blender, cooked them down over the stovetop with a cinnamon stick, and ended up with a pretty decent spread that I think will work well with the chicken (I'm not sure it's as appropriate for dark rye, but that's the bread I have, so it'll have to do).
When I get back from class, I'll make a little egg salad (I may steal a few mustard packets from campus to help with that -- not sure if I'll steal mayo too, or if I'll just make some) for tea sandwiches, and slice up some cucumber similarly. Writer's group is at my place tonight, and since we've had a lovely summery weekend, I thought it would be nice to have summer tea-type stuff to much on during meeting. I'll put out orange juice too, since I have some left over from brunch, but I haven't decided whether to open my bottle of Muscat (dessert wine) or not. Not sure there will be enough to go around; I wish I had little glasses, the right size for a few thimblefulls of dessert wine. We'll see -- at least a third of the group is LDS (Latter-Day Saints, aka Mormon), and thus do not drink. So maybe there'll be plenty.
Anyway, enough chattering about food. I'm going to go start making up grade sheets for my students; before I start cooking this afternoon, I really ought to take a little time to read through their assignments from last week (in-class writing, "What I Know About Argumentation") and mark them as done. But perhaps I'll do that tomorrow morning. We'll see.
Hope everyone (in the U.S.) had a lovely holiday!