May 19th – O. Henry Pun-off Day

May 19, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning punsters. Today is Friday, May 19, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate 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 your 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.

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?

 May Ray Day 

The signs that summer is nigh upon us are all around. Stores are featuring summer attire, markets are filled with fresh local produce, summer flowers and plants are blooming, and kids are anxiously waiting for the school year to end.
May Ray Day celebrates the fact that summer is almost here, and the days are getting longer, and warmer, and sunnier. The object of this holiday is to get out of your house today and soak up some ‘rays’. Take a hike. Go to your favorite beach, or lake, or river. Have a BBQ in your backyard. The possibilities are endless. What is your favorite summer outdoor activity?
CAUTION: With that said, don’t overdo it. You haven’t spent a day in the sun for quite some time, so be sure to use adequate sun block (I need like SPF – infinity). Also, be aware of the signs of sunstroke. You don’t want to spoil your sun-day, fun-day with a trip to the Emergency Room.

Boy’s Club and Girl’s Club Day 

This date marks the organization of the first Boy’s Clubs in 1906 (it wasn’t until 1990 that Girl’s Clubs were put under the same umbrella group). Boy’s Club and Girl’s Club Day celebrates the invaluable contributions of Boy’s Clubs and Girl’s Clubs to the community.
There are clubs all over America providing safe recreational activities for our youth. They teach values and citizenship. They help to keep kids out of trouble and off of the street. In today’s society, there are more and more families in which both parents work and more single-parent families. These groups ease the burden on these families.
To celebrate this holiday, learn more about Boy’s and Girl’s clubs in your area. Volunteer at one, or make a donation.

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.


National Devil’s Food Cake Day

National Devil’s Food Cake Day, oddly enough, celebrates Devil’s food cake; which is considered the counterpart to the classic white angel food cake. Devil’s food cake has a unique light and moist texture, which sets it apart from other chocolate cakes. The recipe calls for quite a bit of baking soda and boiling water instead of milk. Both of these ingredients contribute to the fluffiness of this classic dessert. Devil’s food cake first appeared in the United States in the early 1900’s. It is quite similar to red velvet cake and the names are often interchangeable in some parts of the country. To celebrate this holiday, make a Devil’s food cake, and have some for dessert tonight.

More Holidays 

International Virtual Assistants Day – Observed the third Friday in May.

National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 

National Defense Transportation Day – Observed on the third Friday in May.

National Hepatitis Testing Day

World Autoimmune Arthritis Day  (May 19th to May 21st)

On This Date 

  • In 1643 – Delegates from four New England colonies met in Boston to form a confederation.
  • In 1743 – Jean-Pierre Christin invented the Celsius thermometer. The centigrade temperature scale, which is based on the freezing and boiling point of water, is used by most countries around the world. Exceptions include the United States, Belize, and Palau.
  • In 1796 – The first United States game law was approved. The measure called for penalties for hunting or destroying game within Indian territory.
  • In 1847 – The first English-style railroad coach was placed in service on the Fall River Line in Massachusetts.
  • In 1856 – Senator Charles Sumner spoke out against slavery.
  • In 1911 – The first American criminal conviction that was based on fingerprint evidence occurred in New York City.
  • In 1919 – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk started the Turkish War of Independence. The fight against the allies of the Triple Entente ended some four years later. The Republic of Turkey was founded, and Atatürk became its first President.
  • In 1921 – Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act, which established national quotas for immigrants.  [Then, apparently began to ignore it whenever it was politically expedient].
  • In 1928 – The first frog-jumping jubilee held in Calaveras County, CA.
  • In 1935 – T.E. Lawrence “Lawrence of Arabia” died from injuries in a motorcycle crash in England.
  • In 1958 – Canada and the United States formally established the North American Air Defense Command.
  • In 1959 – The North Vietnamese Army began organizing the Ho Chi Minh trail. According to the United States National Security Agency (NSA), the system of supply routes used by the “Vietcong” was “one of the greatest achievements of military engineering of the 20th century.”
  • In 1962 – Marilyn Monroe performed her, now infamous, sultry rendition of “Happy Birthday” for U.S. President John F. Kennedy. The two were rumored to have been engaged in an affair.  It turned out to be her last public performance.
  • In 1963 – Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail was published. King used the open letter to defend his nonviolent resistance against racism and segregation. It became one of the central texts for the civil rights movement in the United States.
  • In 1964 – The State Department reported that diplomats had found about 40 microphones planted in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
  • In 1967 – United States planes bombed Hanoi for the first time.
  • In 1988 – In Jacksonville, FL, Carlos Lehder Rivas was convicted of smuggling more than three tons of cocaine into the United States. Rivas was the co-founder of Colombia’s Medellin drug cartel.
  • In 1992 – Vice President Dan Quayle criticized the CBS sitcom “Murphy Brown” for having its title character decide to bear a child out-of-wedlock.
  • In 1992 – In Massapequa, NY, Mary Jo Buttafuoco was shot and seriously wounded by Amy Fisher. Fisher was her husband Joey’s teenage lover.
  • In 1992 – The 27th Amendment to the Constitution went into effect. The amendment prohibits Congress from giving itself midterm pay raises.
  • In 1994 – Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died.
  • In 2000 – The bones of the most complete and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton went on display in Chicago.
  • In 2003 – Hundreds of Albert Einstein’s scientific papers, personal letters, and humanist essays were made available on the Internet. Einstein had given the papers to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in his will.

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20-million other people.


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