O. Henry Pun-off Day

May 20, 2016 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning punsters. Today is Friday, May 20th. The holidays today are:

O. Henry Pun-off Day

If you were pundering what to celebrate today, O. Henry Pun-off Day might just be the answer. A pun is the humorous use of a word or words in such a way as to suggest different meanings or applications, or words that have the same or nearly the same sound but different meanings.
Since 1977, O. Henry Pun-off Day has been held annually on the third Friday in May in Austin, TX; the adopted home of author William Sydney Porter (aka O. Henry). Participants compete in one or both of the two areas of punning prowess: Punniest of Show, which features individuals performing a 90-second prepared piece filled with puns; and PunSlingers, which pits individual punsters in head-to-head bouts of spontaneous punning on a randomly selected variation of traditional topic themes. A four-person panel of judges that offers scores of 1–10 based on performance, originality, and wit for each contestant, then the four scores are tallied for an overall score.
If you can’t make it to the event this year, you can still celebrate. You could have some pun by irritating you family with corny puns. Or, you could research O. Henry and read some of his works, or just opun a book of puns and read a few of your favorites.

Be a Millionaire Day

The term “millionaire” first appeared in the English language in a letter written by Lord Byron in 1816. At the time, the only millionaires were Royalty. However, thanks to the Industrial Revolution, more millionaires were created outside of the aristocracy. Today there are more than 12 million millionaires scattered around the globe.
Be a Millionaire Day encourages you to act like a millionaire today, even if you aren’t.  I’m sure that most of you would like to join the “Millionaire Club”, who wouldn’t? If, like me you are a long way from that goal, here are a few things you can do to feel like a millionaire.

1) Buy yourself an extravagant gift that you would not normally buy.
2) Go over your investment portfolio and track you progress.
3) Make a sizable donation to your favorite charity.
4) Go to a casino.
5) Buy a lottery ticket. What the heck, you have as good a chance of winning as anyone else.

Factoid: The first millionaire in the United States was John Jacob Astor (1763 – 1848). Astor made his fortune in trade and later established the first trust in American history. His great-grandson, John Jacob Astor IV, was the wealthiest person aboard the Titanic.

Eliza Doolittle Day

Eliza Doolittle Day is pretty much a meaningless holiday for anyone except fans of musical theater and Audrey Hepburn. Eliza Doolittle is a character in the Musical My Fair Lady. She is a flower girl who is trying to learn to speak like a proper English lady. The reason this holiday is celebrated today is because of a line from the show which reads as follows:
“One evening the king will say, ‘Oh, Liza, old thing — I want all of England your praises to sing. Next week on the twentieth of May, I proclaim Eliza Doolittle Day’.”  
Celebrate this holiday by try speaking in ‘proper’ English today.

Weights and Measures Day

What is the difference between a dram, a gram, and a grain? Who decides what is the correct form of measurement? When were weights and measures standardized?
Weights and Measures Day is, quite simply, the anniversary of the signing of an international treaty establishing the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. The treaty was signed on this date in 1875, on international territory at Sèvres, France.
Before the International Bureau of Weights and Measures was formed, there was a hodgepodge of different weights and measures. It seems like every country, and sometimes even regions within a country, had their own system of weights and measures. Some of the more unique of these are; the chalder or chaldron, the clove, the scruple, the Indian candy, the Chinese catty and tan, the Japanese chin, the Jupiter, the kip, and the slug. As funny as they sound to us, all were valid measurements which were made obsolete after the treaty was signed.
That pretty much covers this holiday. Oh yeah, except for answering the first question.

A dram is a U.S. customary system unit of mass. It is also used as a unit of volume, fluid drams. It equals to 1/16 ounces and 1/256 pounds. The abbreviation is “dr”.

A gram is a metric system unit of mass. It is one-thousandth (1/1000) of the metric system base unit, kilogram. It is a very commonly used unit of mass in daily life. The abbreviation is “g”.

A grain is equal to 1/7000th of a pound or 64.799 milligrams.

To get the ‘full measure’ of this holiday, you could celebrate by weighing or measuring something…or not.

Endangered Species Day

Endangered Species Day is celebrated on the third Friday in May, and is an opportunity to celebrate biodiversity and efforts to conserve that diversity. It highlights the plight of many at-risk and critically endangered species and seeks ways in which we can alter our behavior in small ways on a daily basis  to help to protect them.
A species is added to the endangered species list when it is determined to be endangered or threatened because of any of the following factors:

  • the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;
  • overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;
  • disease or predation;
  • the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms;
  • other natural or manmade factors affecting its survival.

National Bike to Work Day

National Bike to Work Day is sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and is held on the third Friday in May each year. It is timed to coincide with the arrival of warmer weather.
The League was founded as the League of American Wheelmen in 1880. Bicyclists, known then as “wheelmen”, were challenged by rutted, poorly maintained roads, and faced antagonism from horsemen, wagon drivers, and pedestrians…not unlike the present day.
Bicycling is a great form of exercise. It is also good for the environment, and it saves you money. What better reasons do you need to ride your bike to work today?

National Quiche Lorraine Day

Who is Lorraine, and why the heck does she have a quiche named after her? The answer to that question is that Lorraine is not a “who” but rather, a “where”. Quiche Lorraine originated in the Alsace-Lorraine region in northeastern France (hence, quiche Lorraine). The word quiche evolved from the German word Küchen, which means cake. Alsace-Lorraine, now a region of northeastern France, borders on Germany and over the centuries was variously under German control. According to food historians, when this quiche, now considered a quintessentially French dish, was developed, the region was a German province called Lothringen. Despite the many bastardizations of this recipe that you find in cookbooks (and online), Quiche Lorraine is a specific recipe which uses heavy cream and bacon and no cheese. You can blame Julia Child for adding cheese to this classic recipe. The recipe for Quiche Lorraine in her book “From Julia Child’s Kitchen” pointed out that the original recipe did not include cheese, but said that you could include cheese if you were so inclined. This is her recipe. Try it today if you are in an adventurous mood.

National Pizza Party Day

National Pizza Party Day is celebrated on the third Friday in May.The origins and purpose of National Pizza Party Dat are unknown, although I suspect that it could have something to do with the last day of school. Some schools begin their summer vacation around this time, and many classes finish off the school year with a pizza party. It doesn’t really matter, though…after all, do you really need an excuse to eat pizza?
You don’t need to be a member of MENSA to figure out how to celebrate this holiday, but in case you still don’t have it figured out, here’s a hint…have a pizza party. What toppings do you like on your pizza? Since I am a carnivore, I prefer all meat toppings, although a good Hawaiian (ham and pineapple) pizza also makes me drool.

Pick Strawberries Day

Pick Strawberries Day is a sweet, tasty way to enjoy a late spring day. If you don’t have strawberries in your garden, or if they aren’t quite ripe, do not despair. Sometimes local farmers allow people to go into their fields and pick their own strawberries. If all else fails, you can always visit your favorite grocery store or Farmer’s Market and “pick” up a basket or two.
HEADS UP: Don’t use all of the strawberries you “pick” today. You will need some for a different holiday tomorrow.

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day

National Defense Transportation Day

 

On this date:

  • In 1774 – Britain’s Parliament passed the Coercive Acts to punish the American colonists for their increasingly anti-British behavior.
  • In 1775 – North Carolina became the first colony to declare its independence (from England).
  • In 1830 – The fountain pen was patented by H.D. Hyde.
  • In 1861 – North Carolina became the eleventh state to secede from the Union.
  • In 1874 – Levi Strauss began marketing his iconic blue jeans with copper rivets.
  • In 1899 – Jacob German of New York City became the first driver to be arrested for speeding. The posted speed limit was 12 miles per hour.
  • In 1916 – Norman Rockwell’s first cover on “The Saturday Evening Post” appeared.
  • In 1926 – Congress passed the Air Commerce Act. The act gave the Department of Commerce the right to license pilots and planes.
  • In 1927 – Charles Lindbergh took off from New York to cross the Atlantic for Paris aboard his airplane the “Spirit of St. Louis.” The trip took 33 1/2 hours.
  • In 1932 – Amelia Earhart took off to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She became the first woman to achieve the feat.
  • In 1939 – The first telecast over telephone wires was sent from Madison Square Garden to the NBC-TV studios at 30 Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. The event was a bicycle race.
  • In 1939 – The first regular air-passenger service across the Atlantic Ocean began with the take-off of the “Yankee Clipper” from Port Washington, New York.
  • In 1970 – 100,000 people marched in New York supporting U.S. policies in Vietnam.\
  • In 1978 – Mavis Hutchinson, at age 53, became the first woman to run across America. It took Hutchinson 69 days to run the 3,000 miles.
  • In 1985 – The FBI arrested U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer John Walker. Walker had begun spying for the Soviet Union in 1968.
  • In 1990 – The Hubble Space Telescope sent back its first photographs.
  • In 1993 – The final episode of “Cheers” was aired on NBC-TV.
  • In 1996 – The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Colorado measure banning laws that would protect homosexuals from discrimination.
  • In 1999 – At Heritage High School in Conyers, GA, a 15-year-old student shot and injured six students. He then surrendered to an assistant principal at the school.

Celebrity Birthdays:

  • Dolly Madison 1768 – U.S. First Lady.
  • William George Fargo 1818 – Organizer of Wells Fargo & Company.
  • Jimmy Stewart 1908 – Actor.
  • William R. Hewlett 1913 – Co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Company.
  • George Goble 1919 – Comedian, actor.
  • Edith Fellows 1923 – Actress.
  • David Hedison 1928 – Actor.
  • Constance Towers 1933 – Actress.
  • Anthony Zerbe 1936 – Actor.
  • Joe Cocker 1944 – Singer.
  • Cher 1946 – Singer.
  • Dave Thomas 1949 – Comedian, actor.
  • Ronald Prescott Reagan 1958 – Talk show host.
  • Bronson Pinchot 1959 – Actor.
  • Susan Cowsill 1959 – Singer.
  • Tony Goldwyn 1960 – Actor.
  • Mindy Cohn 1966 – Actress.
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