August 16th – Tell a Joke Day

August 16, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning humorists. Today is Wednesday, August 16, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Tell a Joke Day

So far this year, we have already had many humor related holidays including “Presidential Joke Day” last week, and “Tell an Old Joke Day” last month. Tell a Joke Day differs from these holidays in that the subject and age of the joke are irrelevant. This holiday encourages one to tell some jokes and listen to a few as well. After all, a joke isn’t a joke unless it makes someone laugh. I’ve previously recounted some of the health benefits of laughter so I won’t rehash that subject. If you’re not particularly adept at telling jokes, you can always just pass on a few humorous emails or internet memes to your friends.

An elderly man in Phoenix calls his son in New York and says, “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough.” “Pop, what are you talking about,” the son yells. The old man says.”We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer. We’re sick and tired of each other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her.” And he hangs up.
Frantic, the son calls his sister, who was equally agitated on the phone. “Like heck they’re getting a divorce,” she shouts. “I’ll take care of this.” She calls Phoenix immediately and yells at her dad, “You are NOT getting divorced! Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then don’t do a thing, do you hear me?” And she hangs up.
The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife with a sly smile and says; “Sweetie, the kids are coming home for Christmas and paying their own way.”

There, I’ve done my part. Feel free to send me your jokes to celebrate this holiday.

National Airborne Day 

National Airborne Day marks the anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Army Parachute Test Platoon; the forerunner to the Airborne units of today. On this date in 1940, the 48 brave volunteer members of this Platoon pioneered a new method of warfare. Their successful jump led to the creation of a mighty force of more than 100,000 paratroopers. Members of this force were assigned to the legendary 11th, 13th, 17th, 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions and many other units that fought in every theater during World War II.
The soldiers of the Parachute Test Platoon also forged a unique warrior spirit, a relentless passion for victory, and a reputation that still strikes fear in potential adversaries. Beginning with the first combat jump by the men of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, over North Africa in November 1942, airborne and special operations soldiers have made a total of 93 combat jumps. Since World War II, paratroopers have continually distinguished themselves in battle, earning 69 Congressional Medals of Honor and hundreds of other awards for valor.
On August 9th, 2001, President George W. Bush proclaimed August 16th as National Airborne Day.

National Roller Coaster Day

In case you are just emerging from a life-long coma, or have lived your entire life in a cave with no contact with the outside world, a roller coaster is one or multiple cars on a track, similar to a specialized railroad system that rises in designed patterns, sometimes with one or more vertical loops.
National Roller Coaster Day has been celebrated since a 1986 proclamation by a national newspaper according to the website nationalrollercoasterday.com. However, the website did not identify the newspaper or the reason for celebrating this holiday on August 16. It could be that this date was chosen because a patent for the first Loop-the-Loop roller coaster was issued on this date. For whatever the reason, National Roller Coaster Day recognizes the amazing thrills the rides continue to provide as well as nostalgic feelings they stir up.
J.G. Taylor received one of the earliest patents for an inclined railway in 1872.  In 1878, Richard Knudsen received a patent for an inclined-plane railway.  For years, historians believed that the first roller coaster in America opened at Coney Island on June 16, 1884. However, thanks to the digital age and many archived news papers being digitized, and article was discovered reporting the anticipated excitement of J.G. Taylor’s elevated railway in 1872 at Rocky Point, Rhode Island. According to the Providence Evening Press from June 18, 1872, the reporter describes a ride of 400 feet where nine passengers are given a shove and gravity does the rest.
The oldest roller coasters are believed to have originated from the so-called “Russian Mountains.”  Built in the 17th century, these were specially constructed hills of ice that were located near Saint Petersburg, Russia.  The slides were made to a height of 70 to 80 feet consisting of a 50-degree drop and were reinforced by wooden supports.
Celebrate National Roller Coaster Day by visiting an amusement park near you and enjoying a roller coaster ride.  If you cannot get to a roller coaster today, make plans for a future roller coaster adventure and/or learn more about roller coasters and their history.

Wave At The Surveillance Cameras Day

Who knew that George Orwell was a prophet? I wonder if he foresaw, in 1949, when he published his famous FICTIONAL novel 1984, that future world leaders would use it as a textbook on how to govern their citizens.
Today, surveillance cameras are used to monitor traffic, in transportation safety, in the surveillance of retail establishments, as well as in home and school security. More and more people who think that the whole surveillance issue has gone a bit too far. It doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing, whether we’re outdoors or indoors there is a very high probability that we’re being recorded. Of course, surveillance cameras have helped to make countless cities safer by catching various crimes on video—from theft to vandalism to assault—thus allowing the police to apprehend the criminals committing them faster and easier. Still, many can’t help but feel uncomfortable with the fact that almost all of their actions are being monitored, especially those who would not think of committing crimes. Some have even gone as far as to call surveillance cameras an Orwellian invasion of the privacy everyone should be entitled to.
Some people criticize the use of surveillance cameras for depriving regular citizens of their privacy and allowing the authorities and governments too much control over citizens’ lives. However, the good they have the potential to do for society as a whole is a strong argument in their favor.
The first surveillance cameras were created by German engineer Walter Bruch and were installed by Siemens AG in Germany in 1942 to observe the launch of V-2 rockets. In the U.S. the first commercial closed-circuit television system, Vericon, became available in 1949. The earliest video surveillance systems required constant human monitoring because at the time there was no way to record and store information. But, when VCR technology became available in the early 1970’s, the ability to record and erase information caused the use of video surveillance to become much more practical and thus more common.
Olean, New York was the first city in the United States to install video cameras along its main business street in an effort to fight crime in 1968. A few years later, in 1973, cameras also appeared in Times Square in New York City. In the 1980’s video surveillance began to spread across the country, especially in public areas. Businesses that were especially prone to theft, such as banks and stores, also began to install surveillance cameras. In 1998, 3,000 CCTV systems were in use in New York City. The use of video surveillance in public places became more common after the September 11th Terrorist attacks so as to deter future terrorist attacks. In 2010, there were more than 10,000 CCTV systems and counting in Chicago. Greater London also has a large amount, with the number being estimated around 500,000, and the total number of cameras in the UK to be around 4,200,000.
Wave At The Surveillance Cameras Day was created several years ago to help us all take a step back and having a bit of fun with issues that are usually gravely serious. On this lighthearted holiday, take a moment to have a bit of fun with the cameras surrounding you and do what little kids do when they see a train – wave. With all of the problems in the world today, a little good-natured fun and levity might be just the thing to relieve some of the tension – just hope that the government operative or corporate security specialist monitoring you has a sense of humor.

Elvis Has Left the Building Day

Despite rumors to the contrary, Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977. The popular performer, known as the “King of Rock and Roll,” passed away from complications of multiple health problems –including, but not limited to, heart disease, high blood pressure, and liver damage.
For decades after his death, Elvis Presley’s fans claimed to have spotted him in public, but none were ever verified or taken seriously. Rumors even circulated that perhaps “The King’s” ghost still lingered at his Memphis Graceland estate – yet, every year on this date, Elvis Presley’s fans mourn his death once again.
So “Don’t” let your “Suspicious Minds” stop you from celebrating Elvis Has Left the Building Day. “Don’t Be Cruel” or get “All Shook Up” or go “Cryin’ in the Chapel,” the old “Hound Dog” Elvis has been “Returned to Sender” – but his musical legacy lives on.

Bratwurst Day

Bratwurst is a sausage usually composed of veal, pork or beef. The name is derived from Old High German Brätwurst, from Brät; meaning finely chopped meat, and Wurst, or sausage. Though the brat in bratwurst described the way the sausages are made, nowadays Germans associate it with the German verb “braten”, which means to pan fry or roast. Bratwurst is usually grilled or pan-fried but sometimes cooked in broth.
The first documented evidence of the Bratwurst in Germany dates back to 1313 and can be found in the Franconian city of Nuremberg, which is still an internationally renowned center for the production of sausages.
Recipes for Bratwurst vary by region and even locality; some sources list over 40 different varieties of German bratwurst. In Germany, they are regarded as snack food and are generally served with or in a Brötchen (a white bread roll made from wheat flour) and eaten with hot German mustard. It is often accompanied by sauerkraut or potato salad.
In America, Bratwurst is a common type of sausage; especially in the state of Wisconsin, where the largest ethnic group is German. It is a common sight at summer cookouts, alongside the more famous hot dog. Wisconsin is also known as the originator of the “beer brat”, a regional favorite where the bratwurst are poached in beer (generally a mixture of a pilsner style beer with butter and onions) before grilling over charcoal. The bratwurst was popularized in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin in the 1920’s. In general, each local butcher shop would take orders and hand make bratwurst fresh to be picked up on a particular day. Sausages are high in fat content which made daily pick up necessary to avoid spoilage. Some of the fat is removed as a result of the cooking over charcoal.
The bratwurst (or “brat”) also became popular as a mainstay of sports stadiums after Bill Sperling introduced bratwurst to Major League Baseball in Milwaukee County Stadium in 1953. The bratwurst was such a hit, Sperling said, that Duke Snider of the Brooklyn Dodgers took a case back to New York. Currently, Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is the only baseball stadium that sells more bratwurst than hot dogs.

National Rum Day

Rum is an alcoholic beverage distilled from molasses (a by-product of the sugarcane refining process) or from the juice of the sugar cane itself. Most of the world’s rum production occurs in the Caribbean and Latin America, but it is also made in other countries including the United States.
This beverage has famous associations with the Royal Navy (where it was mixed with water or beer to make grog) and piracy (where it was consumed as Bumbo). Rum has also served as a popular medium of economic exchange, used to help fund enterprises such as slavery, organized crime, and military insurgencies (e.g., the American Revolution and Australia’s Rum Rebellion).
The precursors to rum date back to antiquity. Development of fermented drinks produced from sugarcane juice is believed to have first occurred either in ancient India or China and spread from there. The first distillation of rum took place on the sugarcane plantations of the Caribbean in the 17th century. Plantation slaves first discovered molasses, a byproduct of the sugar refining process, could be fermented into alcohol. After rum’s development in the Caribbean, the drink’s popularity spread to Colonial North America. To support the demand for the drink, the first rum distillery in the British colonies of North America was set up in 1664 on present-day Staten Island, New York. The manufacture of rum became early Colonial New England’s largest and most prosperous industry. New England became a distilling center due to the technical, metalworking and cooperage skills and abundant lumber; the rum produced there was lighter, more like whiskey. Rhode Island rum even joined gold as an accepted currency in Europe for a period of time.
Today, there are two common types of rum. Light rum is mild and sweet and is often filtered after distillation to remove any color. It is generally used in mixed drinks. Dark rum is generally aged longer, in heavily charred barrels, giving it a much stronger flavor. It is usually sipped straight or “neat” like a fine whiskey. Less common varieties of rum include Gold Rums, Spiced Rums, Flavored Rums, Over-proof Rums (such as Bacardi 151) and Premium Rums.

More Holidays

On this date

  • In 1777 – During the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Bennington took place. New England’s Minutemen routed the British regulars.
  • In 1812 – Detroit fell to Indian and British troops in the War of 1812.
  • In 1829 – The “Siamese twins,” Chang and Eng Bunker, arrived in Boston, MA. They had come to the Western world to be exhibited. They were 18 years old and joined at the waist.
  • In 1858 – A telegraphed message from Britain’s Queen Victoria to President Buchanan was transmitted over the recently laid trans-Atlantic cable. The message read: “Europe and America are united by telegraphic communication. Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, goodwill to men.” The cable, which cut down the time of communication between the two continents was successful only for a few months. Technical difficulties led to the cable being closed in October of 1858.
  • In 1861 – President Lincoln prohibited the Union states from trading with the states of the Confederacy.
  • In 1898 – A patent for the first Loop-the-Loop roller coaster was awarded. The United States’ patent office awarded the patent for the loop-the-loop roller coaster to American inventor Edwin Prescott. First installed in Coney Island, New York, the roller coaster was able to carry only 4 people at a time.
  • In 1923 – Carnegie Steel Corporation put into place the eight-hour workday for its employees.
  • In 1937 – Harvard University became the first school to have graduate courses in traffic engineering and administration.
  • In 1954 – Time publisher Henry Luce published the first issue of his new magazine, Sports Illustrated. It was claimed that 250,000 subscriptions had been sold before the first issue came off the presses. The full-color cover featured baseball batter Eddie Matthews (of the Milwaukee Braves) and pitcher Wes Westrum (of the New York Giants) in a game at Milwaukee County Stadium.
  • In 1960 – Cyprus gained its independence from Britain. The Mediterranean island nation first came under British control in the early 20th century as a strategic British outpost. In 1925, it was formally added to the British Empire. The London and Zurich Agreements signed in February 1959 gave independence to Cyprus and set up a system of governance based on ethnicity.
  • In 1960 – The free-fall world record was set by Joseph Kittinger. He fell more than 16 miles (about 84,000 feet) before opening his parachute over New Mexico.
  • In 1962 – Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr) replaced Pete Best as the drummer for The Beatles.
  • In 1977 – Elvis Presley was found comatose in his bathroom at his Graceland home in Memphis, TN. He was later pronounced dead at the Memphis Baptist Hospital. He was 42 years old.
  • In 1984 – The Jaycees voted to admit women to full membership in the organization.
  • In 1987 – The first “Day of Harmonic Convergence” was held. The largest worldwide meditation event was organized by new-age author José Argüelles. The date for the event was chosen because of its astrological significance – the Sun, the Moon and 6 of the planets were aligned in a triangular position as seen from the Earth.
  • In 1995 – Voters in Bermuda rejected independence from Great Britain.

Noteworthy Birthdays

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

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