Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! May 26 is Sally Ride Day

We can't take credit for it, of course, but last year we suggested Sally Ride Day as a worthy celebration for May 26 and this year a number of the Usual Suspects proclaim tomorrow to be Sally Ride Day.

Sally Ride, if you don't remember, was the first American woman to fly in space. That's Dr. Ride at left, on board Challenger during her first space mission, STS-7, in 1983. (Ride rode Challenger into orbit again, in 1984, as part of the crew of STS-41-G.) Unfortunately, Dr. Ride passed away last July.

Al Jolson was born Asa Yoelson on May 26, 1886, in a little town that is now in Lithuania. He died in 1950. Jolson never flew in space, but he was the star of the first talking picture, The Jazz Singer. George Jessel never forgave him.

In Australia, Sunday is National Sorry Day. All over the world, Sunday is Bob Day, a celebration of the regular guy, the guy next door, a day to honor all the guys who are just plain Bob. In Indianapolis, Indiana, they also run some sort of automobile race.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Towel Day, Tap Dance Day and National Wine Day

Towel Day is the creation of "a bunch of Douglas Adams loving ape descendants who thought it was a shame that [] was parked, and bought it." Unaffiliated, they say, with the Adams estate or with any of the late Mr. Adams' publishers, the proponents of Towel Day seem to have picked May 25 for their event at random, the day being neither the date of Douglas Adams's birth or death, or in any other way (that we could discover) pertinent to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.

In other words, the setting of Towel Day on May 25 seems to have been entirely random.

We believe Mr. Adams might have approved.

In any event, if you're not an Adams aficionado (or if you simply can't locate your towel), don't panic. You have other options tomorrow (although we must urge you to find your towel as soon as possible and to keep it ever handy thereafter).

Saturday, May 25 is National Tap Dance Day (and, not coincidentally, in our opinion, also the anniversary of the birth of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson -- born May 25, 1878).

And Usual Suspect is among those insisting that Saturday is also National Wine Day. We'll drink to that.

Star Wars premiered on May 25, 1977. If you're one of those people who insist on referring to this movie as "Episode IV: A New Hope," you are also probably not surprised to see that May 25 is also Geek Pride Day.

We told you that International Jazz Day was April 30. Some of the Usual Suspects tout the Saturday before Memorial Day (i.e., tomorrow) as International Jazz Day as well. We're willing to have two Jazz Days, but we have to note the seeming duplication.

On a more serious note, Saturday is also National Missing Children's Day.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Friday, May 24: Snails, wigs, brothers, tiaras and Queen Victoria's birthday

We tipped our hand on National Escargot Day in yesterday's post. But who doesn't need and want an extra day to plan to celebrate snails?

Her Majesty Victoria, by the Grace of God,
of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Queen, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India
Meanwhile, according to several of the Usual Suspects, Friday will also be National Wig Out Day. This is particularly important for those who are follicly challenged.

Friday is also Brother's Day, which apparently can refer to blood brothers, frat brothers, and those who have become like brothers through shared life experience. Tomorrow could be the start of a new bromance?

It will certainly be Tiara Day and, yes, there does seem to be some support on the Intertubes for the proposition that this particular microminiholidayette is tied into Friday's big birthday: Queen Victoria was born on May 24, 1819.

Two of the Queen's grandsons, Kaiser Wilhelm II and George V, would be on opposite sides in World War I. A granddaughter, Alexandra, was married to Czar Nicholas II. Every family has problems.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May 23: Lucky Penny Day -- and two reasons why this pre-holiday week is moving so sloooowly

Mental Floss and Usual Suspects and Holiday Insights are among those proclaiming Thursday, May 23 as Lucky Penny Day.

As the old rhyme goes:

See a penny, pick it up
All day long, you'll have good luck

Unless, of course, you put it in your mouth.

What's the matter with you, putting pennies in your mouth?

Meanwhile, the rest of you may be wondering when Memorial Day Weekend will get here already. Doesn't this week seem like it's taking forever?

We have found two good explanations.

It turns out that Thursday is also World Turtle Day. Oh, sure, the pretext here is that we should care for turtles and tortoises and support those who protect their fragile habitats -- and there's nothing wrong with that.

But turtles, you'll remember, are sloooow.

Meanwhile, Friday, May 24 will be Escargot Day. Some might argue that Escargot Day is really meant to encourage folks to eat snails, but we can't help but note that snails, too, move sloooowly.

Turtle Day... Escargot Day... on consecutive days in the week before Memorial Day? Coincidence? We think not. But the holiday weekend will arrive eventually.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wednesday is Buy a Musical Instrument Day, National Maritime Day, Tommy John's birthday

The Usual Suspects don't have a lot to offer for Wednesday, May 22, but they are consistent: Wednesday is Buy a Musical Instrument Day.

Our crack research staff is still checking to see whether an accordion qualifies as a musical instrument. (The preliminary indication is negative.)

We pointed this out last year, and we stand by it: Buy a Musical Instrument Day is different from Toot Your Own Horn Day. Toot Your Own Horn Day is observed every day on LinkedIn.

May 22 is also National Maritime Day, a day to recognize America's maritime industry. According to Wikipedia, there are many more American-owned ships registered, or flagged, in other countries than registered in our own.

Left-handed pitcher Tommy John had a 26-year career, pitching for a number of major league baseball clubs in that time (including our own Chicago White Sox). John's 288 career victories rank seventh all time among southpaw hurlers. Yet Tommy John is probably best remembered today for the surgery he underwent in 1974. Although he missed the entire 1975 season recovering from the arm operation (performed by Dr. Frank Jobe), John would come back to pitch for another 13 years, finally retiring in 1989 after Mark McGwire touched him for a couple of hits.

Of course McGwire got hits from a lot of pitchers, but it bothered John more because, as it happened, Mark McGwire's father was Tommy John's dentist. According to the linked Wikipedia biography, John told reporters, "When your dentist's kid starts hitting you, it's time to retire!"

Tommy John was born May 22, 1943. He turns 70 on Wednesday.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Waiters, Waitresses, Memos and the American Red Cross

All are recognized on Tuesday, May 21.

Usual Suspect Holiday Insights is among those that promote Tuesday as National Waiters and Waitresses Day. And in the truly needless microminiholidayette category, Tuesday is also National Memos Day.

Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross on May 21, 1881. Some of the Usual Suspects promote Tuesday as American Red Cross Founder's Day.

Raymond Burr, who portrayed TV's Perry Mason, was born in Canada on May 21, 1917.

Singer and pain-in-Jack-Benny's-side Dennis Day was born on May 21, 1918.

Laurence Tureaud, better known as Mr. T, was born in Chicago on May 21, 1952. We pity the fool who doesn't know that.

Whether you are able to pick strawberries today or not (see, yesterday's post) Usual Suspect advises that Tuesday will be National Strawberries and Cream Day.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Monday is Be a Millionaire Day

Most of the Usual Suspects agree: Monday, May 20 is Be a Millionaire Day.

Isn't that nice?

But where does one find directions on how to get one's own million with which to participate?

We can save you the trouble of futilely searching the web for an answer: If you look, you will find helpful advice like... save money or watch your expenses. Imagine. Here's a news flash: If watching your expenses will help you be a millionaire, you already are.

But, even without your own million, maybe you can participate today by pretending. Dreams are free. That, indeed, may be the whole idea.

Monday is also Pick Strawberries Day. At least in places where strawberries have already grown. In Canada (which, presumably, does not yet have strawberries) Monday will be Victoria Day.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Pentecost, May-Ray Day, Plant Something Day

For Catholics and other western Christians, May 19 is Pentecost Sunday, recalling the day when the 12 Apostles received the Holy Spirit as "tongues of fire" that came to rest on each of them. Whether their fear and hesitation miraculously vanished in that instant, or whether the process was more gradual than that, the Apostles became fearless preachers, all (except, according to tradition, John) dying for their faith in Jesus.

May 19 is also May-Ray Day, celebrating the return of sunshine (the rays, you see) and encouraging people to get out and enjoy the nice weather. If it is nice. And, if it is nice on Sunday, you may wish to observe Plant Something Day, assuming that you live in a region where still one more frost is unlikely.

The Who's Pete Townshend turns 68 on Sunday (born May 19, 1945). According to Usual Suspect, Townshend wrote "My Generation" on his 20th birthday, May 19, 1965. The linked article provides an explanation of the line in that song, "Hope I die before I get old."

Friday, May 17, 2013

May 18 is Armed Forces Day, International Museum Day

Saturday, May 18 is Armed Forces Day. We remember our veterans in November; we will remember those who have fallen in service to our nation on Memorial Day. Saturday is a day to salute all the men and women who now serve our country in any branch of the military. We are grateful for your service.

Saturday is also International Museum Day, celebrating museums as "an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples." And you thought museums were just a place for musty, dusty old artifacts: For shame!

May 18 is also Visit Your Relatives Day. Some of them are probably musty, dusty old artifacts, too.

Usual Suspect reminds us that Mt. St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980.

Frank Capra, the most American of movie-makers, the man who gave the world Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, It's a Wonderful Life and so many other classics, was born -- in Sicily -- on May 18, 1897. (He came to America when he was six years old.) Ironically, in the 1950s, Capra would come under suspicion by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC).

Civil War photographer Mathew Brady was born on May 18, 1822.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Friday is Pack Rat Day, Endangered Species Day, and Ride Your Bike to Work Day

We think National Pack Rat Day sounds rather creepy, perhaps because we exhibit pack-rat tendencies that we're not especially proud of. But Mental Floss and most of the Usual Suspects tout Pack Rat Day as an observance for Friday, May 17.

Usual Suspect is among those that note that Friday will also be National Bike to Work Day and Endangered Species Day. Ride your bike to work on Friday with your earbuds on and you'll likely be an endangered species.

May 17 is also World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. The International Telecommunication Union was founded on May 17, 1865 (as the International Telegraph Union).

And speaking of telecommunication, Wikipedia tells us that the first-ever baseball telecast took place on May 17, 1939, a college game between the Princeton Tigers and the Columbia Lions. Wikipedia tells us that Princeton won, 2-1, but fails to advise which beer company sponsored the telecast.

We think Usual Suspect may be fudging a little on the exact date, but it's too good to leave of Friday's list: According to the linked article, an FBI investigation into the lyrics of the Kingsmen's 1963 recording of "Louie Louie" came nearly to a halt on May 17, 1965 because that was the day that the FBI Laboratory "declared the lyrics of 'Louie Louie' to be officially unintelligible." If you remember when those in authority actually fretted whether song lyrics might actually be "dirty," you're probably old enough to have ordered sea monkeys.

Last Year on TBOD: May 17 is Pack Rat Day. Forget about that. Celebrate Cool Papa Bell instead.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May 16: Sea Monkey Day, Biographer's Day

Every Baby Boomer remembers sea monkeys. Even if some hatched, none of them ever looked like the mer-people in this comic book ad, even with a magnifying glass. And one needed a magnifying glass to see anything in a sea monkey bowl.

Yes, sea monkeys were pretty much a scam. So on Wednesday, National Sea Monkey Day, persons of a certain age can remember the first time they wasted their hard-earned allowance money on something really stupid. Baby Boomers who never sent away for sea monkeys should remember not to be smug. After all, they were probably the kids who ordered x-ray specs.

Wednesday is also Biographer's Day, so named because it was on May 16, 1763 that James Boswell first met Samuel Johnson. Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, published in 1791, is still remembered today.

Liberace (soon to be the subject of a major motion picture) was born on May 16, 1919. Henry Fonda (an actor in many major motion pictures) was born on May 16, 1905.

President Andrew Johnson survived an impeachment vote in the Senate on May 16, 1868 -- barely. The May 16 vote was taken on the House of Representative's 11th Article of Impeachment, and Johnson was acquitted by a 35-19 vote in favor of conviction (one vote short of the necessary two-thirds majority required for removal from office). The Senate would vote twice more on other articles, both times rejecting impeachment by the same slim margin, before the trial was declared over on May 26, 1868.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 15 is Peace Officers Memorial Day

Unless you are a police officer, or related to one by blood or marriage, you may not know that we are in the middle of National Police Week. Wednesday, May 15 is the highlight of the week, Peace Officers Memorial Day.

An honor guard at the Chicago Police Memorial Wall.

Yes, we ran the above picture last year, too. So what? We also ran the one below, showing the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The police see the rest of us at our worst -- when we are the victim of a crime, when we are stopped for a traffic infraction, or when (heaven forfend) we are arrested for a serious crime. Because of this sad truth the relationship between the police and the citizenry can, at times, be somewhat... adversarial. But, for the most part, the police really are our friends. Make a point to remember that on Wednesday.

Let's see... can we tie anything else into Peace Officers Memorial Day? Well, MLB's Texas Rangers are named after the famed peace officers in that state, and one of their owners is Nolan Ryan -- and, on May 15, 1973, Nolan Ryan threw the first of his eventual seven no-hitters. Of course, he was pitching for California at the time....

Wednesday will also be National Chocolate Chip Day and Straw Hat Day. No, we couldn't figure out a way to tie those in, either.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Tuesday is Chicken Dance Day, Skylab anniversary

The Chicken Dance video we posted last year seems unusually infested with ads this year, and this makes us concerned about whether you should go back there and play it. But you weren't going to do that anyway, were you? Just our bringing the subject up may stick that song in your head for a good long while, won't it?

Please don't hate us. It's not our fault that all the Usual Suspects say that Tuesday, May 14 is Chicken Dance Day (or, alternatively, Dance Like a Chicken Day -- which just gets you back to the Chicken Dance anyway).

Skylab, America's first space station, was launched 40 years ago, on May 14, 1973.

Of course by 1973, America had abandoned its remaining lunar missions. NASA was like a parent who forbade its kids to go walking to the park anymore, but -- in a misguided effort to make up for it -- put up a tent in the backyard. Skylab, the tent in low Earth orbit, was abandoned in February 1974, after the Skylab 4 mission. Skylab's orbit eventually decayed, and it came crashing back to Earth in 1979. Today, America bums rides to and from Skylab's replacement, the International Space Station, from the Russians.

The future was supposed to be better than this.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

It's not easy being green... except on May 13

Monday, May 13, you see, is Frog Jumping Day (the Usual Suspects are in rare unanimous accord on this point) and Leprechaun Day (sure now, we shouldn't be limiting the Little People to St. Patrick's Day only, should we?)

The Usual Suspects are also in rare accord about the fact that there seems to be no reason why Frog Jumping Day is observed on May 13 each year. Most of those Usual Suspects willing to speculate on the matter assume the day was inspired by Mark Twain's short story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," but -- they agree again -- the chosen day does not link to any specific day in Twain's life.

We thought we might be able to answer this one, guessing that the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, the event which inspired Twain's story, and which is still held annually, might be scheduled for May 13. But if you look at the link you'll see that, this year at least, the Calaveras County Fair runs from May 16 to 19. Close, sure. But is it close enough? (The actual frog jump at the Calaveras County Fair will be held this year on May 19.) Perhaps some reader has soe clarifying information that he or she could share with the rest of us?

Monday will also be National Apple Pie Day.

The trademark "Velcro" was registered on May 13, 1958. According to Wikipedia, Velcro did not become widely used until after NASA decided to use it -- but NASA did not invent Velcro.

Pope John Paul II was shot on May 13, 1981.

Heavyweight boxer Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber, was born on May 13, 1914. Stephen Colbert was born exactly 50 years later, on May 13, 1964.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

What do you mean, what else is Sunday, May 12 besides Mother's Day?

What kind of ungrateful little wretch are you?

Well, since you're an ungrateful little wretch who's reading The Blog of Days, we'll indulge you: May 12 is the birthday of Florence Nightengale and (not coincidentally) the end and culmination of National Nurses Week. If any of the mothers in your life are nurses, you can combine these two celebrations and perhaps earn some brownie points as well.

Usual Suspect Days of the Year mentions that Sunday is Doodle Day. If you have kids at home, perhaps they can surprise Mom on Sunday with their best doodles. Homemade cards are often much appreciated; they are not (necessarily) proof that you're just a cheap bastard.

Sunday, May 12 will also be Limerick Day, commemorating the 201st birthday of Edward Lear, the English poet and artist who popularized the limerick (and, according to legend never once tried to rhyme Nantucket....)

Lear was also the author of such children's classics as "The Owl and the Pussycat." Surely you remember your mother reading that to you as a child:
They dined on mince, and slices of quince
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
Now, stop this nonsense and plan to call your mother Sunday. If you still can.

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 11 is Twilight Zone Day

Mental Floss is one of the many sources that confirm that Saturday, May 11 will be Twilight Zone Day. Usual Suspect Holiday Insights was one step ahead of our crack research staff (then again, who isn't?), confirming that Twilight Zone Day is not anchored to the release of the television program or the birth or premature death of creator Rod Serling.

Apparently, Twilight Zone Day really does exist in its own dimension -- a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind, a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas.

Holiday Insights is also among the Usual Suspects offering Eat What You Want Day as an alternative microminiholidayette for Saturday. Or, you could combine the two by sitting on the couch all day, watching Twilight Zone reruns while eating what you want.

If you do that, however, you may find yourself in desperate need of exercise. Belly dancing, according to some, is a wonderful core-strengthening exercise. And Saturday will also be World Belly Dancing Day. We won't tell you, however, where our crack research staff wanted to take that one.

Usual Suspect says that Saturday will be National Miniature Golf Day. And what is one of the hazards typically encountered on a miniature golf course? Why, a windmill, of course. And Saturday, Brownielocks adds, is also National Windmill Day. Of course, this may be a celebration of windmills used as an alternate energy source -- but is it a coincidence that these two microminiholidayettes should wind up on the same day? Or is it something more sinister? (Cue music from The Twilight Zone.)

Wikipedia's Daily Digest for May 11 says that the City of Byzantium was renamed "New Rome" on May 11, 330 -- but the Wikipedia article on "New Rome" insists there is no evidence that Constantine ever officially gave his new capital city that name. What accounts for this discrepancy? Is it just the fact that Wikipedia can be edited by anyone and everyone -- or is there some darker motivation afoot? (Cue music from The Twilight Zone again.)

In fact, go ahead: Hum that Twilight Zone theme over and over again on Saturday. Especially as you're picking through the nearly empty racks at your local store looking for even a reasonably acceptable Mother's Day card....

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Friday is Clean Up Your Room Day

The picture of these forlorn children is lifted from Mental Floss's article on May holidays. Mental Floss and most of the Usual Suspects concur on this one: Friday, May 10 is Clean Up Your Room Day.

Friday will also be Military Spouses Day, honoring the spouses of the men and women who serve in the military. Military spouses bear a heavy burden, particularly when their loved ones are deployed.

The Blog of Days hereby exempts all military spouses from any obligations that might otherwise be imposed by Clean Up Your Room Day. It's not much, but it's something.

Friday is also World Lupus Day. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can be fatal. Far more women than men suffer from the disease.

Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president on May 10, 1994. Winston Churchill first became Prime Minister of Great Britain on May 10, 1940, the very day that Nazi Germany began its invasion of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

Friday will also be the 38th anniversary of Sony's introduction of the ill-fated Betamax videocassette recorder (May 10, 1975, in Japan). If you remember the Betamax you may still be angry about it.

Two infamous assassins were born on May 10. The guy who shot Lincoln was born on May 10, 1838. The guy who shot John Lennon was born on May 10, 1955. Yes, even our crack research staff knows who 'these guys' are -- but why give them the publicity? ESPN's Chris Berman was also born on May 10, 1955, but he didn't murder anyone, except sometimes the English language.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May 9 is Lost Sock Memorial Day

Cartoon obtained from this website.

Where do they go? What celestial vortex opens up in washing machines and dryers and sucks out individual socks? And for what possible purpose? Are the sprites who steal our socks one-at-a-time malevolent or merely mischievous?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Heck, even the members of our crack research staff (surely the least inquisitive minds on the planet) want to know.

But we can't find out where the lost socks go, much less why, and on Thursday, Lost Sock Memorial Day, we can only reflect and recollect.

How's that for an absolutely silly microminiholidayette?

Still, there's not a lot to choose from on Thursday. It will be the 153rd birthday of J.M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan. There was a great deal to be found in Neverland, but not our lost socks.

Piano Man Billy Joel turns 64 on May 9. Louis Armstrong was 63 on May 9, 1964 when his recording of "Hello Dolly" temporarily dislodged the Beatles from the #1 spot on America's pop charts.

Former Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak was born on May 9, 1873. It was Cermak's death that secured his place in American history: Cermak was gunned down in Miami, Florida on February 15, 1933 while shaking hands with President-Elect Franklin D. Roosevelt (Cermak would die on March 6). The linked Wikipedia article recounts the story that assassin Giuseppe Zangara was shooting at FDR, only to have his aim spoiled when Lillian Cross, a doctor's wife, hit Zangara's elbow with her purse. Of course, in Chicago, there's always been some question as to whether Cermak was the intended target all along....

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

In addition to V-E Day, May 8 is...

In addition to V-E Day, May 8 is No Socks Day.

Yes, that's just a slight drop in importance from one observance to the next. Sort of like how Niagara Falls is a slight drop in the river.

But we here at The Blog of Days try and provide you with both the great occasions and the trivial -- and here's a good illustration. We only bring up No Socks Day because May 9 (and we're getting ahead of ourselves, a bit, admittedly) is National Lost Sock Memorial Day. Isn't it bad enough that your dryer eats socks without casually discarding your socks for some whimsical microminiholidayette?

Antoine Lavoisier
Usual Suspect offers Have a Coke Day as a suggestion for May 8. For our New York readers, just be careful how large a glass of Coke that you pour.

Usual Suspect Holiday Insights suggests that Wednesday is also National Receptionist Day.

Its the centennial of animator Bob Clampett (of Warner Brothers fame and, later, the creator of Beany and Cecil). Clampett was born on May 8, 1913 (he died in 1984). And in one of those utterly irrelevant ironies of history, President Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884 -- V-E Day coincided with Truman's 61st birthday.

Antoine Lavoisier, the 'father of modern chemistry,' was guillotined on May 8, 1794 for reasons having nothing to do with his naming of hydrogen or oxygen. (In addition to his scientific work, Lavoisier became interested in politics, ultimately securing an appointment as a tax collector.)

Last Year on TBOD: May 8 is V-E Day

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tuesday is National Teachers Day

We've already told you that this is National Nurses Week. It's also National Teacher Appreciation Week, and the Tuesday of National Teacher Appreciation Week is National Teacher Day. The National PTA offers a number of suggestions about how to let teachers know they're appreciated. Among these, the PTA suggests that you "[w]rite letters and cards of appreciation to your students’ teachers throughout the week and ask you students’ teachers how you can support them throughout the year" and "[s]how your support for the tremendous work teachers do by volunteering in your students’ classrooms."

We're going to speculate that your kids' teachers may not be overly impressed if you volunteer to help out only now, in the waning days of the academic year. But file that advice about volunteering away for the Fall (when you can be in time for World Teachers' Day on October 5.

Tuesday is also World Asthma Day, "organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) in collaboration with health care groups and asthma educators to raise awareness about asthma and improve asthma care throughout the world." The theme of this year's World Asthma Day is "You Can Control Your Asthma."

May 7 is also National Tourism Day and the birthday of the City of New Orleans (founded May 7, 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville). The linked Wikipedia article also credits Bienville with founding the City of Biloxi, Mississippi and co-founding the City of Mobile, Alabama.

May 7 may be a musical day. Not only is it the birthday of the City of New Orleans, it is also the birthday of Johnannes Brahms (born May 7, 1833) and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (born May 7, 1840). On the other hand, Gary Cooper was born on May 7, 1901. Yup.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Celebrate National Nurses' Day on May 6

Most of the Usual Suspects and one of our favorite online destinations, Mental Floss, concur on this: Monday, May 6 is National Nurses' Day, the festive start of National Nurses Week.

Monday will also be the anniversary (May 6, 1954) of the day Roger Bannister became the first man to run a mile in under four minutes.

The crash of the Hindenburg, May 6, 1937.
The German airship Hindenburg exploded and crashed on May 6, 1937 as it tried to dock with its mooring mast in Lakehurst, New Jersey. Thirty five of the 97 people on board perished; another person was killed on the ground. Herbert Morrison's famous live narrative of the disaster (for WLS Radio in Chicago) is accessible from the linked Wikipedia account. You can hear the sob in his voice as he shouts, "Oh, the humanity!"

We mentioned the 1941 premiere of Citizen Kane here just the other day. Kane's creator, Orson Welles, was born on May 6, 1915.

Monday is also No Diet Day -- not a day to surrender to flabbiness, but a day to cultivate a healthy relationship with food, without the ups and downs that come from dieting.

Usual Suspect also says that Monday is No Homework Day. Kids are of course welcome to try this one out on their teachers -- nothing ventured, nothing gained -- but The Blog of Days accepts no responsibility for any adverse consequences that may result from the attempt.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Besides Cinco de Mayo, Sunday, May 5 is also...

Astronaut Alan Shepard, prior to the launch of Freedom 7.
Besides Cinco de Mayo, Sunday May 5 is also the anniversary of the first American manned space flight. On May 5, 1961, American Alan B. Shepard, Jr. rode a Mercury capsule into outer space. Unlike Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's flight 23 days before, Shepard's mission, dubbed Freedom 7, was sub-orbital, lasting just more than 15 minutes from launch to splashdown. Shepard would, however, later walk on the Moon, in 1971, as commander of the Apollo 14 mission. (America's first orbital space flight would not take place until February 20, 1962, with John Glenn on board Freedom 7.) Sunday might be a good day to ask when America's next manned space flight may occur; currently, our manned space program consists of bumming rides to and from the International Space Station with the Russians, at a cost of $70 million per ride.

Sunday will also be Cartoonists Day, commemorating the anniversary of the first Sunday color newspaper comic, printed on May 5, 1985 in Joseph Pulitzer's New York world The strip would eventually be known as The Yellow Kid -- and there are those who believe that this comic helped inspire the phrase "yellow journalism."

Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard was born on May 5, 1813, 200 years ago.

Cy Young threw the first perfect game in the modern era on May 5, 1904.

Now, the link in the preceding sentence will take you to Usual Suspect's article on the subject, in which it is stated that Young's perfecto came at the expense of the Detroit Tigers. But this does not appear to be the case. Young was hurling for Boston's AL team on May 5, 1904, and he did throw a perfect game, 27 up and 27 out -- but his victims that day were the Philadelphia A's. And the team for which Young pitched was not then known as the Red Sox -- and would not be given that nickname until after the 1907 season, according to Wikipedia. (Wikipedia and both agree that it was A's that Young beat on May 4, 1904.) According to, in 1904 Young had a record of 26-16. He appeared in 43 games that year (so he was almost always the pitcher of record), starting 41 times. He threw 40 complete games that season, 10 of them shutouts. He pitched 388 innings in 1904 alone and his ERA was a miserly 1.97. Oh, and he was already 37 years old. You can view his contract for the 1904 season at Baseball's Hall of Fame, so you may be assured we're not making this up: His 1904 salary was.................. $4,000.

Last Year on TBOD: Yes, but do you know what Cinco de Mayo is all about?

Friday, May 3, 2013

May the Fourth be With You!

Yes Saturday will be Star Wars Day or, if you're feeling particularly grandiose, as a number of the Usual Suspects evidently were when they compiled their lists for May 4, Saturday will be Intergalactic Star Wars Day. The reason for the selection of the day is all too painfully obvious.

If you prefer real heroes to pretend ones, May 4 is also International Firefighters Day.

© 1970 Valley News-Dispatch
Four anti-war protesters were killed by National Guardsmen at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. That's John Filo's Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph from that terrible day on the right. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded Neil Young's song about that tragedy, "Ohio," just a couple of weeks later.

Someone lobbed a dynamite bomb at Chicago police advancing to disperse a pro-labor demonstration in Chicago on May 4, 1886. Seven policemen were killed. A number of protesters were killed, and dozens wounded, when police fired into the crowd. That tragedy is known to history as Haymarket Square Riot.

Audrey Hepburn was born in Belgium on May 4, 1929. Alice Liddell, the little girl who inspired Lewis Carrol to write Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, was born on May 4, 1852.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day

The United Nations officially designates Friday, May 3 as World Press Freedom Day, which seems just a touch ironic, given the high esteem and regard in which journalists are held throughout so much of the world.

Of course newspapers and newspaper reporters haven't always been so popular in the United States either. General William Tecumseh Sherman once said, "If I had my choice I would kill every reporter in the world, but I am sure we would be getting reports from Hell before breakfast." He wanted to hang reporters as spies from time to time, and he was not the only general who felt that way. But they weren't always right.

But this discussion is contrary to the spirit of the occasion. Instead, to get in the mood for today's celebration, how about renting or buying Humphrey Bogart's 1952 classic, Deadline USA? We posted this YouTube snippet of the powerful finale last year, too. Why not? It's still great.

The speech by Ed Hutcheson (Bogart's character) captures the essence of World Press Freedom Day:
It's not just me anymore. You'd have to stop every newspaper in the country now and you're not big enough for the job. People like you have tried it before -- with bullets, prison, censorship -- but as long as even one newspaper will print the truth, you're finished.
Newspapers: You'll miss 'em when they're gone.

Which, sadly, may be soon.

We gave a short list of great newspaper movies in last year's May 3 post, starting with the the 1948 film noir, Call Northside 777, with Jimmy Stewart as a crusading Chicago reporter -- a Chicago movie that was actually filmed largely in Chicago.

We also recommended the 1940 screwball comedy, His Girl Friday, with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. His Girl Friday was a remake of the 1931 movie, The Front Page, with Pat O'Brien in the Rosalind Russell role. If you don't know these movies, you'll scratch your head for awhile over that one. The Front Page was remade in 1974 by Billy Wilder. His version starred Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. In the 1980s the story was filmed again, but reset in a TV environment as Switching Channels. We'd recommend the earlier versions over the later remakes.

If you'd rather not celebrate newspapers Friday, you can always observe National Two Different Colored Shoes Day. Among the suggestions made for May 3 by Usual Suspect are Lumpy Rug Day and International Tuba Day.

We'd still prefer to celebrate freedom of the press, although we admit it might be interesting to see who would celebrate both Ukulele Day and Tuba Day.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May 2 is Robert's Rules of Order Day

Anyone who has served on a board -- any board, really, a condo board, a library board, a school board -- probably even most kids who have served on a high school student council -- have at least a nodding acquaintance with Robert's Rules of Order.

But we haven't been able to ascertain why Thursday, May 2 would be designated Robert's Rules of Order Day. Nevertheless, according to several of the Usual Suspects, Robert's Rules of Order Day is indeed observed every May 2. The chair rules a celebration is in order.

Tiny Tim image obtained at this site.
Thursday is also Play Your Ukulele Day.

We have no objection, really, to anyone playing a ukulele... as long as, we hasten to add, the ukulele players does not "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" a la the late Tiny Tim.

Usual Suspect American Greetings suggests that May 2 can be celebrated as Be Kind to the Smelly Day. This is not necessarily intended as a commentary on anyone's ukulele playing.

May 2 is also International Scurvy Awareness Day. Are you doing your part to prevent scurvy? Do you always ask for a slice of lime when you take your gin & tonic (or vodka & tonic)?

For those who know what they are, Thursday will also be National Truffle Day.

Thursday is the 110th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Benjamin Spock (born May 2, 1903), the pediatrician whose child-rearing advice was highly valued by many parents during the height of the Baby Boom. Dr. Spock's natal day may or may not have something to do with the fact that some of the Usual Suspects suggest that May 2 is also Brothers and Sisters Day, Baby Day, and Take a Baby to Lunch Day. Usual Suspect offers both Brothers and Sisters Day and Sibling Appreciation Day -- but that seems six of one, one half dozen of the other to us.

Last Year on TBOD: It's Teacher's Day in Bhutan and Iran