Saturday, May 31, 2014

Holidays and Observances for May 31 2014

National Macaroon Day

Are you nuts about coconut? You’re in luck - May 31 is National Macaroon Day!

This delightful little confection has a storied past, and where you are could determine what it looks like.

The original macaroon is Italian and resembles the amaretti cookies we know today. The fluffy cookies are traditionally made from an almond paste, sugar and egg whites. Depending on who you ask, they're either named after the Italian word for paste, maccarone, or the word ammaccare, which means "to crush."

Italian Jews started adding coconut to these puffy pastries, and sometimes even dipped them in chocolate. Because there’s no flour or leavening agent in the cookies, these coconut cuties are perfect for Passover as they’re completely kosher.

According to online specialty foods magazine The Nibble, the French-style macaroon, spelled macaron, was invented by Pierre Desfontaines Ladurée. He apparently had the brilliant idea of making a meringue cookie sandwich, held together with ganache. Now, macaroons come in all flavor combinations, something baker Dana Loia knows all about.

“My favorite flavor is s’mores. We use brown sugar to make the meringue and add a toasted homemade marshmallow fluff. Our most exotic flavor would have to be Fruity Pebbles - cereal is so underrated!”

After she opens her New York-based shop, Dana’s Bakery, on June 1, customers can order her delightfully colorful confections in-store and online.

As a caution to first time macaron bakers, she adds, “Macarons are very moody which make them difficult to make, but not impossible to master! Humidity is a macaroon's worse enemy, so I would recommend a sunny, dry day for one's first attempt at making them.”

Save Your Hearing Day

Save Your Hearing Day is always observed on May 31st and reminds us that our hearing is vital, and needs to be protected.

Many hearing loss problems are avoidable. Hearing loss can result from a variety of reasons, including: health, genetic and environmental causes. On the environmental side, repeated long term exposure to loud, high decibel noises can overtime cause hearing loss. This cause, in particular, is often avoidable.

Use Save Your Hearing Day as an opportunity to learn what you can do to avoid hearing loss to yourself, and your family. Then, practice it.

Turn Down the volume already – I’m the fella two cars behind you and you’re hurting my ears!

Now for some facts from our friendly folks at Better Hearing (

Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss, and one of the most common occupational illnesses in the United States. A single shot from a shotgun, experienced at close range, may permanently damage your hearing in an instant. Repeated exposures to loud machinery may, over an extended period of time, present serious risks to human hearing.
  • 10 million Americans have already suffered irreversible hearing damage from noise;
  • 30 million are exposed to dangerous noise levels each day.
  • The effects of noise on hearing are often underestimated because the damage takes place so gradually.
Excessive noise damages the delicate hair cells in the inner ear. This damage results in sensorineural hearing loss and often tinnitus (ringing of the ears). Dangerous levels of noise can come from working in noisy occupations or in engaging in dangerous recreational activities:
  • Beware of dangerous recreational activities: video arcades, fire crackers, discos, music concerts, shooting a gun, movie theatres, sporting events, motor boards, motorcycles, snowmobiles, “boom cars”.
  • Occupations particularly under risk for hearing loss due to exposure to noise are as follows: firefighters, police officers, factory workers, farmers, construction workers, military personnel, heavy industry workers, musicians, entertainment industry professionals.
If you have to raise your voice to shout over the noise to be heard by someone within an arm’s length away, the noise is probably in the dangerous range. Some of the warning signs of the presence of or exposure to hazardous noise are as follows:
  • You can’t hear someone three feet away
  • You have pain in your ears after leaving a noisy area
  • You hear ringing or buzzing (tinnitus) in your ears immediately after exposure to noise
  • You suddenly have difficulty understanding speech after exposure to noise; you can hear people talking but you cannot understand them.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Hearing
  • If you work in an at-risk occupation, check with your employer to make sure you have adequately protected your hearing according to OSHA regulations.
  • Limit exposure time to noisy activities.
  • Wear hearing protection, such as foam or silicone plugs or muffs. Foam plugs are available at your pharmacy while muffs and specialized ear protection can be purchased at sporting good stores or safety equipment stores.
  • At home, turn down the volume on the television, radio, stereos and Walkman’s.
  • Wear ear plugs or muffs when using loud equipment (i.e. lawn mowers, power saw, leaf blower).
  • Buy quieter products (compare dB ratings – the smaller the better).
  • Reduce the number of noisy appliances running at the same time in your personal environment.
  • Avoid medications that can be dangerous to your hearing. Be sure to ask your physician about possible effects on your hearing.
An Ounce of Prevention
Be alert to hazardous noise. Since prevention is so critical, make sure that your family (especially children), friends, and colleagues are aware of the hazards of noise. Remember: One-third of hearing loss is preventable with proper hearing protection.

Speak in Complete Sentences Day

OMG! If you are a frequent texter, chatter or emailer, chances are good you may not be too thrilled with this particular "holiday." May 31 is Speak in Complete Sentences Day, an annual holiday that reminds us of the importance of proper writing and speaking skills. While the origins of this holiday are unknown, a frustrated language or speech teacher probably came up with the idea!

While modern day slang, text speak and acronyms allow us to communicate with one another more quickly via various technologies, our grammar, writing and speaking skills may be suffering. Today is the perfect day to put all those skills we learned in school to use!

How to Celebrate Speak in Complete Sentences Day
  • If you can't remember the last time you wrote a letter using a pen and paper, here's your chance!
  • If you happen to have an old typewriter collecting dust, why not give it a go and try your "hand" at honest-to-goodness typing?
  • Write, and give, a speech in front of your family or friends - for old time's sake!
  • Speak in complete sentences all day long!
What You Think Upon Grows Day

What you think upon grows. This is an Eastern maxim, and it sums up neatly the greatest and most fundamental of all the Laws of Mind. What you think upon grows.

What you think upon grows. Whatever you allow to occupy your mind you magnify in your life. Whether the subject of your thoughts be good or bad, the law works and the condition grows. Any subject that you keep out of your mind tends to diminish in your life, because what you do not use atrophies.

The more you think about your indigestion or your rheumatism, the worse it will become. The more you think of yourself as healthy and well, the better will your body be.

The more you think about lack, bad times, etc., the worse will your business be; and the more you think of prosperity, abundance, and success, the more of these things will you bring into your life.

The more you think about your grievances or the injustices that you have suffered, the more such trials will you continue to receive; and the more you think of the good fortune you have had, the more good fortune will come to you.

This is the basic, fundamental, all-inclusive Law of Mind, and actually all psychological and metaphysical teaching is little more than a commentary upon this.

World No-Tobacco Day

In an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco use, May 31 is World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), an annual event that encourages people around the world to abstain from all tobacco consumption for 24 hours.

Since 1987, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been shining the spotlight on the harmful consequences of tobacco use and exposure as well as business practices of tobacco companies. In 1988, a resolution was passed declaring each May 31st World No Tobacco Day.

Nations and organizations around the world participate in the observance by participating in a wide variety of activities. While a different theme is adopted each year, every theme highlights the harmful effects of tobacco use and exposure. This year's theme is Tobacco Taxes. The theme for 2013 was "Ban Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship" while the theme for 2012 was “Tobacco Industry Interference.”

Smoking Kills
Did you know tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death? According to the WHO, more than 6 million people die each year from tobacco-related illnesses. 600,000 of those die due to second-hand smoke exposure.

World No Tobacco Day Resources
Smoking Information, Resources and Tips
If you or someone you love lights up, now is the perfect time to stop. Be sure to watch the powerful and disturbing video.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Holidays and Observances for May 30 2014

Loomis Day

Loomis Day commemorates Mahlon Loomis, who patented his wireless telegraphing inventions on May 30, 1872 (whilst working as a dentist in Washington DC).

He had actually claimed to have succeeded in wireless telegraphy some 6 years earlier, though with no witnesses present to see this, May 30th is one of the earliest official recognitions of his triumph.

Mahlon Loomis (21 July 1826 – 13 October 1886) was a dentist, the inventor of artificial teeth (patent #10,847 May 2, 1854), and the earliest inventor of wireless communication (patent #129,971 July 30, 1872).

Loomis, a Washington, DC dentist, claimed to have transmitted signals in October 1866 between two Blue Ridge Mountain-tops 14 miles apart in Virginia, using kites as antennas, but without having identified the names of independent witnesses.

My Bucket's Got A Hole In It Day

Happy My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It Day! Yes, I’m serious. That’s the official holiday of today, May 30th.

I bet you didn't even know today was a holiday, did you? And I’m almost certain you didn't know it was this holiday.

How May 30th came to be this holiday is shrouded in mystery.  In fact, there seems to be no information whatsoever on the Internet. But people agree, today is a holiday celebrating a folk song once sung by Hank Williams and Ricky Nelson.

Some have suggested a link between the song, “My Bucket has a Hole in It,” and the children’s song, “There’s a Hole in the Bucket,” which would give it some more history.  But in my searches, I find little evidence to support this claim.

We’re left with very few answers about its origin. But the real question I’m begging to ask is how does one actually celebrate My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It Day?

With little history and no legends connected to the holiday how are we supposed to know even where to start? If there was a legend of a fatherly Paul Bunyan-like giant who walked across the land dripping water out his hole-ridden bucket to help poor farmers, maybe we could come up with something.

The lyrics of the song don’t really help. They’re essentially nonsensical. I guess the holiday could be, “I can’t buy a beer day,” or, “buy a Ford day.” But only Ford gets the better part of that deal.

We need some way to celebrate.

Hank Williams What about another dress up holiday? I always loved Halloween when I was a kid, so maybe for this we could dress up like Ricky Nelson or Hank Williams? Hmm… On second thought maybe this in not such a good idea.  Dressing up is always complicated.

How about another holiday where we set off fireworks? No, that’d just increase the chance of getting injured (for me anyway).

Perhaps we could exchange small gifts or greeting cards? No, that would create another holiday men could forget too easily.

Maybe we could have a huge dance! America has been missing a good dancing holiday. We could play the various versions of the song and the dance would have a bluegrass feel to it.  The men could stand in the corner with a bucket and try to find a woman that ain't got no man…

Honestly, the more I think about this holiday the sillier it seems.

In fact, I’m all out of ideas. Do you have any? Let me know on Facebook. How should we celebrate My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It Day?

Water a Flower Day

If it hadn't been for coffee, cocoa, vanilla, lavender, chamomile, marijuana, and many other flowering plants and trees, our world would have been a barren, dismal place. So Water a Flower Day is that yearly reminder to show our flowers how much we appreciate them for their sumptuous colors, their fragrant blossoms and their medicinal, or sometimes lethal, properties.

The best way to celebrate Water a Flower Day is by giving all of your household and garden plants an aquatic treat. Also, studies show that gently caressing them in the way that a diaphanous zephyr would in their natural habitat promotes growth, so don’t be shy, give their leaves a tender squeeze. Unless you own a Rafflesia Arnoldii, the largest flower on the planet, which doesn't have any leaves and is also known as the ‘corpse flower’ due to the odor it oozes when disturbed. That’s one plant we wouldn't mind forgetting to water, isn't it? Best stick to roses and lilies, I say, and water them, stroke and sing to them like you would to a child. You’ll be a better person for it and you’d make the world a brighter, sweeter and more colorful place.

National Mint Julep Day

“Then comes the zenith of man’s pleasure. Then comes the julep - the mint julep. Who has not tasted one has lived in is the very dream of drinks, the vision of sweet quaffings.”

May 30 is National Mint Julep Day, so let’s celebrate by deploying this appreciation of the julep published in the Lexington Herald in the late 1800s by Kentucky colonel Joshua Soule Smith.

A julep - from the Persian word julâb, meaning “rosewater” - is a drink in which liquor and syrup are poured over crushed ice, often with mint. There are so many ways to make your mint julep, and entire books have been written about julep lore and variations. (People fight duels over this stuff. Careful how you proclaim your preferred recipe.)

My favorite recipe comes from Chris McMillian at the Bar UnCommon in the Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel in New Orleans, where a julep is as much a performance, or a ceremony, as a cocktail. This bourbon julep is very much Kentucky-style, with the peach syrup adding a bit of a Georgia note. Handheld or electric ice crushers are easy to find (I scored my Rival Ice-O-Matic on eBay for eleven bucks), but if you don’t have one, you can crush the ice in a dishtowel, pillowcase, or canvas bag.

12 to 15 fresh spearmint leaves, plus one sprig
1 ounce simple syrup (or better yet, peach syrup – Monin brand is good)
2 1/2 ounces good bourbon whiskey
Superfine or powdered sugar (optional)
Place the mint leaves and 1/4 ounce syrup into a metal julep cup or glass, and use a wooden muddler or the back of a spoon to very gently press the leaves, working them up the sides of the glass. Use fresh mint and don’t over-muddle, as mint gets bitter when you bruise it too much.

Pack the cup with crushed ice, mounding the ice over the rim of the glass. Drizzle the bourbon through the ice, then drizzle the remaining syrup on top. Clap the mint sprig between your hands to bruise it slightly, and garnish the drink with it. If you choose, dust the drink and the garnish with powdered sugar. If you use a straw, cut it short so your nose will catch the mint’s aroma as you drink.

And if you want to change it up, go right ahead! Try different spirits, or syrups: cocktail historian David Wondrich favors a Cognac julep with a dark rum float, while writer Paul Clarke recommends a brandy-and-Champagne julep. You can also get interesting results with bourbon and pineapple syrup, and New York cocktail temple Death & Co. offers a rye whiskey julep made with Grade B maple syrup.

This particular unstirred version produces a drink that changes in the glass, getting sweeter as you drink it and nicely putting you in the mood for a second one. As a nod to the Kentucky Derby winner, I’ll Have Another.

Saint Joan of Arc Day

Joan of Arc (ca. 1412 – 30 May 1431), nicknamed “The Maid of Orléans” (French: La Pucelle d’Orléans), is a folk heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. She was born a peasant girl in what is now eastern France. Claiming divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years’ War, which paved the way for the coronation of Charles VII of France. She was captured by the Burgundians, transferred to the English in exchange for money, put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon for charges of “insubordination and heterodoxy”, and was burned at the stake for heresy when she was 19 years old.

Twenty-five years after her execution, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr. Joan of Arc was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. She is – along with St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, St. Louis IX, and St. Theresa of Lisieux – one of the patron saints of France. Joan said she had received visions from God instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years’ War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent her to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence when she overcame the dismissive attitude of veteran commanders and lifted the siege in only nine days. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII’s coronation at Reims.

To the present day, Joan of Arc has remained a significant figure in Western civilization. From Napoleon I onward, French politicians of all leanings have invoked her memory. Famous writers, filmmakers and composers who have created works about her include: William Shakespeare (Henry VI, Part 1), Voltaire (The Maid of Orleans), Friedrich Schiller (The Maid of Orleans), Giuseppe Verdi (Giovanna d’Arco), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (The Maid of Orleans), Mark Twain (Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc), Jean Anouilh (L’Alouette), Bertolt Brecht (Saint Joan of the Stockyards), George Bernard Shaw (Saint Joan), Maxwell Anderson (Joan of Lorraine), Carl Theodor Dreyer (The Passion of Joan of Arc), Robert Bresson (The Trial of Joan of Arc), Arthur Honegger (Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher), Leonard Cohen (Joan of Arc), and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (Joan of Arc). Cultural depictions of Joan of Arc have continued in film, theatre, television, video games, music, and performances.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Holidays and Observances for May 29 2014

End Of The Middle Ages Day

End of the Middle Ages Day is celebrated on May 29th of each year.

In European history, the Middle Ages, or Medieval period, lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: Antiquity, Medieval period, and Modern period. The Medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, the High, and the Late Middle Ages.

Depopulation, deurbanisation, invasion, and movement of peoples, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages. The barbarian invaders, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East, once part of the Eastern Roman Empire came under the rule of the Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad’s successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with Antiquity was not complete. The still sizable Byzantine Empire survived in the east and remained a major power. The empire’s law code, the Code of Justinian, was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became widely admired later in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded as campaigns to Christianize pagan Europe continued. The Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty, briefly established an empire covering much of Western Europe; the Carolingian Empire in the later 8th and early 9th century, when it succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions—Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, and Saracens from the south.

During the High Middle Ages, which began after AD 1000, the population of Europe increased greatly as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labor services to the nobles, and feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages. The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Middle Eastern Holy Land from the Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralized nation states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasized joining faith to reason, and by the founding of universities. The philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, and the architecture of Gothic cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements of this period.

The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine, plague, and war, which much diminished the population of Western Europe; between 1347 and 1350, the Black Death killed about a third of Europeans. Controversy, heresy, and schism within the Church paralleled the warfare between states, civil wars, and peasant revolts occurring in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.

International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is a day to remember those who served in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations. They also honor the memory of people who died in the name of peace.

Many activities are organized on this day. Activities include:
  • Notes in official UN documents and schedules.
  • Presentations during UN meetings and events.
  • Memorial services and wreath laying events for those who died in peace keeping missions.
  • Presentation of the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal as a way to honor military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while working for UN peacekeeping operations.
  • Awarding peacekeeping medals to military and police officers who are peacekeepers.
  • The launch of photographic and multimedia exhibitions on the work of UN peacekeepers.
The events take place in places such as the UN headquarters in New York in the United States, as well as Vienna, Australia, and other locations worldwide.

The UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) was founded on May 29, 1948. UNTSO's task was to assist peacekeepers to observe and maintain a cease-fire. This cease-fire marked the end of the hostilities between Israel and the Arab League forces. The hostilities started after the end of the British Mandate of Palestine on May 14, 1948. On December 11, 2002, the UN General assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. The day was first observed on May 29, 2003.

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is a tribute to people who serve or have served in UN peacekeeping operations. The peacekeepers are honored for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage. People who died for peace are also remembered.

UN Peacekeepers are usually clearly recognizable. They often display the UN flag and the letters "UN" on their clothing, equipment and vehicles. They also wear hats, helmets or other clothing with UN colors.

Learn About Composting Day

Learn About Composting Day is observed on May 29, 2014. Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment. Compost is a key ingredient in organic farming. At the simplest level, the process of composting simply requires making a heap of wetted organic matter (leaves, "green" food waste) and waiting for the materials to break down into humus after a period of weeks or months. Modern, methodical composting is a multi-step, closely monitored process with measured inputs of water, air, and carbon- and nitrogen-rich materials. 

The decomposition process is aided by shredding the plant matter, adding water and ensuring proper aeration by regularly turning the mixture. Worms and fungi further break up the material. Aerobic bacteria manage the chemical process by converting the inputs into heat, carbon dioxide and ammonium. The ammonium is further converted by bacteria into plant-nourishing nitrites and nitrates through the process of nitrification. 

Put A Pillow On Your Fridge Day

Your pillow brings you comfort every night but you’ve probably been frustrated at how this resource is often wastefully ignored throughout each day. However, during Put A Pillow On Your Fridge Day you can make sure your pillow is working all day to bring you prosperity and good fortune.

Before the invention of refrigerators in the 1920s, people in Europe and the USA would put cloth in their larder for good luck once a year. Food storage habits have changed since then, putting the future of this fine tradition in doubt. However, this event has survived the scare and is back stronger than ever. All you need to do is place a pillow on your fridge on the correct day. The observant among you may notice that the true equivalent of the old tradition would be to put a pillow inside your fridge. Perhaps try both to make sure you don’t miss out on any of that luck!

National Biscuit Day

Sweet or salty. Soft or crunchy. Simple or exotic. Everybody loves munching on biscuits, but do they know how biscuits began?

The history of biscuits can be traced back to a recipe created by the Roman chef Apicius, in which "a thick paste of fine wheat flour was boiled and spread out on a plate. When it had dried and hardened it was cut up and then fried until crisp, then served with honey and pepper." 

The word 'Biscuit' is derived from the Latin words 'Bis' (meaning 'twice') and 'Coctus' (meaning cooked or baked). The word 'Biscotti' is also the generic term for cookies in Italian. Back then, biscuits were unleavened, hard and thin wafers which, because of their low water content, were ideal food to store.

As people started to explore the globe, biscuits became the ideal travelling food since they stayed fresh for long periods. The seafaring age, thus, witnessed the boom of biscuits when these were sealed in airtight containers to last for months at a time. Hard track biscuits (earliest version of the biscotti and present-day crackers) were part of the staple diet of English and American sailors for many centuries. In fact, the countries which led this seafaring charge, such as those in Western Europe, are the ones where biscuits are most popular even today. Biscotti is said to have been a favourite of Christopher Columbus who discovered America!

Making good biscuits is quite an art, and history bears testimony to that. During the 17th and 18th Centuries in Europe, baking was a carefully controlled profession, managed through a series of 'guilds' or professional associations. To become a baker, one had to complete years of apprenticeship - working through the ranks of apprentice, journeyman, and finally master baker. Not only this, the amount and quality of biscuits baked were also carefully monitored.

The English, Scottish and Dutch immigrants originally brought the first cookies to the United States and they were called teacakes. They were often flavoured with nothing more than the finest butter, sometimes with the addition of a few drops of rose water. Cookies in America were also called by such names as "jumbles", "plunkets" and "cry babies".

As technology improved during the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, the price of sugar and flour dropped. Chemical leavening agents, such as baking soda, became available and a profusion of cookie recipes occurred. This led to the development of manufactured cookies.

Interestingly, as time has passed and despite more varieties becoming available, the essential ingredients of biscuits haven't changed - like 'soft' wheat flour (which contains less protein than the flour used to bake bread) sugar, and fats, such as butter and oil. Today, though they are known by different names the world over, people agree on one thing - nothing beats the biscuit!

Some interesting facts on the origin of other forms of biscuits:
The recipe for oval shaped cookies (that are also known as boudoir biscuits, sponge biscuits, sponge fingers, Naples biscuits and Savoy biscuits) has changed little in 900 years and dates back to the house of Savoy in the 11th century France. Peter the Great of Russia seems to have enjoyed an oval-shaped cookie called "lady fingers" when visiting Louis XV of France. 

The macaroon - a small round cookie with crisp crust and a soft interior - seems to have originated in an Italian monastery in 1792 during the French Revolution.

SPRING-uhr-lee, have been traditional Christmas cookies in Austria and Bavaria for centuries. They are made from a simple egg, flour and sugar dough and are usually rectangular in shape. These cookies are made with a leavening agent called ammonium carbonate and baking ammonia.

The inspiration for fortune cookies dates back to the 12th and 13th Centuries, when Chinese soldiers slipped rice paper messages into moon cakes to help co-ordinate their defence against Mongolian invaders.

Paper Clip Day

May 29 celebrates a product that most of us take for granted. It's Paper Clip Day, an annual "holiday" that recognizes those handy dandy products that help keep us organized and our desks nice and neat.

The History of Paper Clips
While today's clips are available in a slew of colors, shapes and sizes, Johan Vaaler, a Norwegian inventor who lived from 1866 to 1910, is often credited as inventing the paper clip back in 1899. But it was Gem Manufacturing LTD that actually created the "double oval" shape design we still use today.

During World War II, the Germans forbade Norwegians to wear buttons with the Norwegian king's initials on their clothing. As a sign of solidarity, the people wore paperclips on their clothing to symbolize the Norwegian invention and to symbolize unity. Later, anyone caught wearing a paper clip was subject to immediate arrest! Today, a giant paper clip monument has been erected near Oslo to honor Vaaler's contribution.

The next time you use a paper clip to help tidy up your papers or work area, give a little love and a silent shout-out to the folks who turned small pieces of wire into a useful product that helps make our lives a lot easier!

International Coq Au Vin Day

Today is International Coq Au Vin Day! Coq Au Vin is French for “rooster with wine." It is a popular dish made with braised chicken that is slowly cooked with red wine, mushrooms, pork fat, and various spices. According to some legends, Coq Au Vin has ties to Julius Caesar or Napoleon, but most historians agree that the dish has more humble roots. Roosters are only butchered when they are quite old and rather inedible. Peasant families most likely invented the Coq Au Vin recipe to avoid wasting the meat.

Coq Au Vin became popular in the United States thanks to Julia Child, who featured the dish in her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It also appeared many times on her TV show "The French Chef." Today, it is a popular dish in many French restaurants, but it is also a fabulous dish to cook at home.

To celebrate International Coq Au Vin Day, embrace your inner chef and plan a French-inspired dinner party. Bon Appétit!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Holidays and Observances for May 28 2014

World MS Day

World MS Day (WMSD) has been established by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) and its member MS societies for any individual, group or organisation to work together to raise awareness of MS.

World MS Day is the only global awareness raising campaign for MS. Every year, the MS movement comes together to provide the public with information about MS and to raise awareness on how it affects the lives of more than two million people around the world.

Since its inception in 2009, World MS Day has grown from strength to strength, reaching hundreds of thousands of people in more than 67 countries worldwide and continuing to grow every year.Take a look at last year’s campaign.

This year we are asking people to imagine a world without barriers. Starting on 5 May 2014 you can submit and share your One day wish. On 28 May 2014 the Wish Wall will be unveiled, a place to explore everyone's wishes and find out about access issues around the world.

When we talk about equality of access for people with MS we mean access to social, political and economic life. Equality of access doesn't just mean physical access to buildings, but access to the same tools, services and facilities that people who do not have MS enjoy.

What is a One day wish?
We all have hopes and dreams for the future, whoever we are and wherever we live. It may be to take a salsa class, write a novel, get your dream job, or even fall in love. A One day wish is your chance to share that wish with the world – a step towards overcoming whatever barriers might be in the way.

By uploading your One day wish and sharing it with friends and family, you can join the global movement of people working to raise awareness of MS. You don’t even have to be living with MS to take part. We want to hear everyone’s wishes and make a difference today.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common neurological disorders and causes of disability in young adults. It is found in every country in the world where epidemiological data exists. It affects an estimated 2.3 million people worldwide, although it is likely that many hundreds of thousands more remain undiagnosed*. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 31, with around twice as many women as men diagnosed. It is not yet known what causes the disease, and as yet there is no cure.

The severity of the course of MS as well as the symptoms can vary widely among individuals. These can include blurred vision, weak limbs, tingling sensations, unsteadiness and fatigue. For some people, MS is characterized by periods of relapse and remission, while for others it has a progressive pattern. Some people may feel and seem healthy for many years following diagnosis, while others may become debilitated very quickly. For everyone, MS makes life unpredictable.

To find out more about MS, visit MSIF.

*This data is from MSIF's Atlas of MS 2013, the only global source of information mapping MS and resources around the world. For more information visit

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National Hamburger Day

Eagle-eyed readers may note that we already celebrated National Cheeseburger Day in September, National Hamburger Day waaaayyyy back in December and others raise high the burger flag on May 28th. However, while there's a fleck of red tape residue on the process, there's not exactly a federal regulatory agency for food holidays, so we'll go with it as an excuse to get beefy.

The hamburger was invented many greasy, cheesy, meaty decades ago, but exactly when and by whom a matter of hot dispute. Time Magazine's Josh Ozersky asserts in his 2008 book, "The Hamburger: A History" that the modern day incarnation of the formed patty between two halves of a bun is "an American invention" with endless regional variations like the Connecticut steamed cheeseburger, Mississippi slugburger or Oklahoma onion burger.

Various inventors have laid claim to that innovation, from Charles "Hamburger Charlie" Nagreen, a vendor at the Seymour Fair in Wisconsin in 1885 and Fletcher Davis in Athens, Texas in the 1880s, to Frank and Robert Menches at the Erie Agricultural Fair in Hamburg, New York in 1885 (they also take credit for the invention of the ice cream cone at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904), or possibly Louis Lassen at Louis' Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut in 1900.

While it took some American ingenuity to slap meat on some bread and render it a hand held sandwich, the concept of the patty itself was brought to the United States by German immigrants who had become fans of the Hamburg Steak. This cheap, chopped or roughly ground beef was mixed with fillers like breadcrumbs, suet and onions, bound with eggs and seasoned with nutmeg. The meat, often salted and smoked for preservation, was brought over to the United States by immigrants on the Hamburg America Line and became a popular menu item on New York City restaurants that catered to German sailors and European immigrants, hungry for the flavors of home.

National brisket day

Cue the celebration - May 28 is National Brisket Day.

There’s something synonymous about summer and barbecue. Now that the weather is warming across most of the country, so is the charcoal.

An often overlooked piece of meat to conquer is the brisket. It’s big and can be quite intimidating, but with a little know-how and some basic technique, you'll be making competition-grade brisket in no time.

Brisket is a cut from the front of the animal, between the shank and chuck. This part does a lot of heavy lifting, so there’s a good bit of connective tissue. The tissue's toughness is one of the main reasons that it’s often recommended to cook a brisket low and slow – that is over low heat for a long time. This helps break down all that connective tissue leaving a tender piece of meat.

Another feature of brisket is what’s called the fat cap. This is a layer of fat over the top of one side of the meat that helps prevent the brisket from drying out during the cooking process. There are different theories as to whether you should cook the brisket with the fat cap facing up or down. Both have pros and cons and the decision can be left up to preference.

Where you live in the U.S. might determine the style in which you cook your brisket. Some regions prefer just a rub, some would rather brine or marinate the cut, and some do both.

Rubs are a spice blend that are massaged into the meat before cooking. Most contain any combination of salt, garlic powder, brown sugar, chili powder, cumin and black pepper, but a rub can really be tailored to your liking.

Marinades are typically acidic to help tenderize the meat. Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and liquid smoke are popular choices.

There are a few ways to cook brisket, and you don’t need a fancy smoker to get the job done well. You can cook a brisket in the oven or even on the grill. The key really is low and slow - and basting. Basting a brisket with either more marinade or simply the juices from the meat itself helps create a tender brisket with a nice caramelized exterior.

Oh, and one of the best part about cooking a brisket – burnt ends. When you lay your brisket out to be cooked, you’ll see one side is squared off and the other forms a point. This point is where burnt ends come from. This side of the meat usually takes longer to cook because it’s more marbled with connective tissue. When your brisket is done, cut a bit of the point off and throw it back onto your heat source. You’ll end up with nuggets of concentrated flavor that are great to munch on while you wait for the brisket to rest.

National Senior Health and Fitness Day

National Senior Health & Fitness Day is a nationwide health and fitness event for 
older adults, always held the last Wednesday in May during Older Americans Month. 2014 will mark the 21st year of the program, and more than 100,000 older adults will participate at local events at more than 1,000 locations across the country on the same day. 

The event’s goals are to promote the importance of regular physical activity, and to showcase what local organizations are doing to improve the health and fitness of older adults in their communities.

Local organizations throughout the country will host senior-related health and fitness events at retirement communities, health clubs, senior centers, park districts, hospitals, YMCAs, houses of worship, banks and other community locations. The local health and fitness activities will vary widely based on the organization hosting the event and the interests of local seniors. Activities will be non-competitive and may include walking events, low-impact exercises, health screenings and health information workshops.

Sierra Club Day

The Sierra Club is one of the oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organizations in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892, in San Francisco, California, by the Scottish-born American conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president.

Traditionally associated with the progressive movement, the club was one of the first large-scale environmental conservation organizations in the world, and currently engages in lobbying politicians to promote green policies. In recent years, the club has gravitated towards green politics and especially towards bright green environmentalism. Recent focuses of the club include green energy and preventing climate change, although traditional concerns such as the preservation of public lands and mitigating pollution remain policy priorities.

In addition to political advocacy, the Sierra Club organizes many outdoor recreation activities, and is a notable organization for mountaineering and rock climbing in the United States, having pioneered the Yosemite Decimal System of climbing. The Sierra Club does not set standards for alpinism, but it frequently organizes wilderness courses, hikes, rock climbs, and alpine expeditions for members.

The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the United States. It is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

Slugs Return From Capistrano Day

This silly holiday is a parody of the holiday called “Swallows Return to Capistrano.” Swallows Day is supposed to be a lovely day in March when flocks of cliff swallows arrive at the beautiful Mission San Juan Capistrano and begin to build their springtime nests. For years people have had a parade and festival to welcome back the sparrows, and they traditionally ring the mission bells as well. Unfortunately, there have been very few or no swallows anywhere near Capistrano, recently. And I don't mean few or no swallows on Swallows Day; I mean few or no swallows anywhere near Capistrano at all, ever.

Still, from what I can tell, Swallows Day goes on, with or without the swallows!

Today's “holiday,” Slugs Day, warns people all over the nation that the slugs are returning from their winter headquarters in Capistrano—but of course, that's a great big lie! Slugs do not migrate each year, and they certainly don't overwinter in Capistrano!

Still, it might be fun to have a Slugs Day today. Try out the slugs links and games at Wart Games. And here are some experiments about slugs and caffeine.  (You should know that most gardeners consider slugs and snails huge problems, major pests. They want to learn about them so they can repel or even destroy them!) Finally, here are some groan-worthy jokes about snails and slugs. 

Amnesty International Day

Amnesty International (commonly known as Amnesty and AI) is a non-governmental organisation focused on human rights with over 3 million members and supporters around the world. The objective of the organisation is “to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.”

Amnesty International was founded in London in 1961, following the publication of the article “The Forgotten Prisoners” in The Observer 28 May 1961, by the lawyer Peter Benenson. Amnesty draws attention to human rights abuses and campaigns for compliance with international laws and standards. It works to mobilize public opinion to put pressure on governments that let abuse take place. The organisation was awarded the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize for its “campaign against torture,” and the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights in 1978.

In the field of international human rights organisations, Amnesty has the longest history and broadest name recognition, and “is believed by many to set standards for the movement as a whole.”

International Day of Action for Women's Health

Every Year the 28th Day of May is observed as the International Day of Action on Women's Health throughout the world. The 1987 meeting of the Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) at Costa Rica, decided that May 28 will be observed every year as the day focusing on the action to be taken to improve Women's health. Every year WGNRR raise a call for action to protect women's health and takes steps towards improving the conditions for betterment of the health.

 Human life may be at its most comfortable state today than it was a few years ago, the new technologies and the discovery of novel medicines has led to the improvement of life and the steep decrease in death rate. But today a number of other diseases have increased its victims mostly the diseases like AIDS and other sexually transmitted ones. The comfort of living and the improved hospital may be a very positive one but do you know that there are still places on the earth where the basic medical treatment and the proper health care are not easily accessed, a number of people are dying from diseases like flu, TB and Jaundice and pregnancy complication which is easily treatable and curable in today's world.

Women especially are losing their life and health due to the little care given during pregnancy and child birth, babies are many times still born or handicapped as the mother was not given proper care, adequate nutrient and the right medicine when she was expecting. Sometimes mother's life is also put at risk leading to her death of very much complicated delivery.

Besides the inadequate health care offered in the place, the sexual inequalities also makes the women less accessible to the medication and health care. Most of the time, her health care is not given adequate importance as she herself is not considered as an important part of the society. And most of the time she doesn't or couldn't raise the voice for the health care and medication she need. 

The International Day of Action on Women's Health is a day to call for action towards the improvisation of women's health. The main focus of the International Day of Action on Women's Health and the WGNRR lies on protecting the sexual and reproductive health of women. The WGNRR works for the right of women to have 'safe sex' when she wants and the right to decide on when she want to get pregnant with a child and the right to go forward with a legal abortion.

The day mostly deals with the reproductive health because pregnancy related health issues and death in women are far more in number than we imagine. The death and complication of pregnancy is more in the underdeveloped and the developing countries and it is estimated that every year about 600,000 women around the world are killed due to these issues.

The day also calls for the women to have a right to protect herself from sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS by practicing safe sex. It is believed that a large percentage of women does not have their say in sex and are not able to express their desire for a protected sex, the day also raises voice against this issue as the safer sex practice can reduce the AIDS cases significantly. ‘One of the most powerful HIV vaccines today is women’s empowerment ... it is the key to reversing the epidemic.’---UNIFEM. 

World Hunger Day

World Hunger Day is observed on May 28th 2014 organized by Britain´s the Hunger Project UK.

It is estimated that most of the malnourished people living in developing countries constitutes to 98% of the world's population. It is a known fact that 870 million people do not have enough food to eat. Even today, 90% majority of deaths occurs only because of hunger and poverty related illness.  It is not area specific and is happening in other parts of the world as well not as a result of famine or from the high profile emergency crises but because of the persistent hunger that exists in the developing world particularly in Africa, South Asia and Latin America.  

world hunger day is about raising awareness of the hunger and poverty related issues. The idea behind this day is to inspire people in both the developed and developing countries to show their harmony and support to end hunger and poverty.

Every year on World Hunger Day, the achievements of millions of people who are trying to end their hunger and poverty is observed and celebrated. By empowering people in meeting their basic needs and to lead lives of self-reliance could result in building better futures for their children.

 Every individual who seek to end hunger and poverty can get involved in the World Hunger Day through understanding the challenges, use the talent they possess and offer your support in planning fundraising event or spread the word as global citizens for the needy ones.

Though we can’t eradicate the world hunger and poverty instantly but one can support the organizations established to develop effective, bottom-up strategies to end hunger and poverty. Join your hands to empower people to end their hunger.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Holidays and Observances for May 27 2014

Cellophane Tape Day

The development of the first masking tape in the early 1920s showed just how gifted Dick Drew was in devising practical solutions to customer needs.
But Drew was not one to rest on his laurels – or to neglect the ever-changing concerns of 3M customers. Naturally, then, Drew went straight to work when he learned that a St. Paul insulation firm needed 3M's help in devising a waterproof covering for the insulation batts that it was designing for railroad refrigerator cars.

While Drew was pursuing his research, he spoke with a fellow 3M researcher who was considering packaging 3M masking tape rolls in cellophane, a new moisture-proof wrap created by DuPont. Why, Drew wondered, couldn't cellophane be coated with adhesive and used as a sealing tape for the insulation batts?
In June 1929, Drew ordered 100 yards of cellophane with which to conduct experiments. He soon devised a tape product sample that he showed to the St. Paul insulation firm. Unfortunately, the sample didn't adequately solve that particular customer's problem. But the sample definitely showed promise as an aid to packaging other types of products.

Drew kept working. It took over a year for him to solve the many problems posed by his materials. Cellophane could indeed work as a backing for pressure-sensitive tape. But it was difficult to apply adhesive evenly upon it. Also, cellophane split easily in the process of machine coating. But for each such challenge, Drew found an answer. He discovered that if a primer coat was applied to cellophane, the adhesive would coat evenly. As for splitting, special machinery solved that problem. Finally, Drew developed virtually colorless adhesives to improve the aesthetics of the tape.

On Sept. 8, 1930, the first roll of Scotch™ Cellophane Tape was sent to a prospective customer. That customer wrote back with the following sound advice for 3M: "You should have no hesitancy in equipping yourself to put this product on the market economically. There will be a sufficient volume of sales to justify the expenditure."

The customer's word proved to be a considerable understatement. Scotch cellophane tapes went on to become one of the most famous and widely used products in 3M history. Commercial enterprises used it for packaging. Farmers found it handy for patching cracked turkey eggs. Homeowners used it to repair toys and torn book pages. New uses continue to be discovered – and product sales continue to grow – up to the present day.

National Grape Popsicle Day

What causes “purple tongue”, as everyone calls it, in children during summer days? The answer is grape Popsicle. Children love it and grape flavored Popsicle is the most sold Popsicle. May 27th is celebrated as National Grape Popsicle day.

It is not clear how the national grape popsicle day originated but grape Popsicle was invented accidently in the year 1905 by an 11 year old boy, Frank Epperson when he left a mixture of soda outside with a stick and it froze overnight. He patented the popsicles after 18 years and now we have popsicles in different flavors and varieties.

How can you celebrate the national grapes Popsicle day without eating grape Popsicle? So eat lots of grape popsicles. You can also celebrate the day by making grapes popsicles at home or can take your kids for a visit to popsicle factory. You can make variety of grapes popsicles by adding jelly, fruits and other ingredients to it.

The national grape popsicle day is not just for kids but adults can also relish the grape popsicles and walk their childhood memory lane. Adults can also mix grape flavored vodka to popsicles to make it special.

Sun Screen Day

Sun Screen Day is celebrated on May 27th of each year.

Sunscreen (also commonly known as sunblock, sun tan lotion, sun screen, sunburn cream, sun cream or block out) is a lotion, spray, gel or other topical product that absorbs or reflects some of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation on the skin exposed to sunlight and thus helps protect against sunburn. Skin-lightening products have sunscreen to protect lightened skin because light skin is more susceptible to sun damage than darker skin. A number of sunscreens have tanning powder to help the skin to darken or tan; however, tanning powder does not provide protection from UV rays.

Sunscreens contain one or more of the following ingredients:
  • Organic chemical compounds that absorb ultraviolet light.
  • Inorganic particulates that reflect, scatter, and absorb UV light (such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or a combination of both).
  • Organic particulates that mostly absorb light like organic chemical compounds, but contain multiple chromophores, may reflect and scatter a fraction of light like inorganic particulates, and behave differently in formulations than organic chemical compounds. An example is Tinosorb M. Since the UV-attenuating efficacy depends strongly on particle size, the material is micronised to particle sizes below 200 nm. The mode of action of this photostable filter system is governed to about 90% by absorption and 10% by scattering of UV light.
Depending on the mode of action sunscreens can be classified into physical sunscreens (i.e., those that reflect the sunlight) or chemical sunscreens (i.e., those that absorb the UV light). Although sunscreen is sometimes called “suntan lotion”, the latter is different in that it is used to intensify UV rays whereas the former is used to block UV rays.

Medical organizations such as the American Cancer Society recommend the use of sunscreen because it aids in the prevention of developing squamous cell carcinomas and basal-cell carcinomas. Many sunscreens do not block UVA radiation, which does not cause sunburn but can increase the rate of melanoma, another kind of skin cancer, and photodermatitis, so people using sunscreens may be exposed to high UVA levels without realizing it. The use of broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreens can address this concern.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Holidays and Observances for May 26 2014

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.

The Civil War claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history, requiring the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. By the late 1860s Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.

It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo—which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.

On May 5, 1862, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Many Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.

Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. On a less somber note, many people throw parties and barbecues on the holiday, perhaps because it unofficially marks the beginning of summer.

National Blueberry Cheesecake Day

National Blueberry Cheesecake Day is celebrated every year on May 26th. It is for the celebration of Blueberry cheese cake and all the cake lovers. It’s a food holiday and has a special place in food lovers heart.

There is no evidence to show the origin of national blueberry cheesecake day. But, Cheesecake originated in ancient Greece and blueberry cheese cake is one of favorites.

How else can you celebrate National Blueberry Cheesecake? Eat lots of blueberry cheese cake. You can also try different varieties of blueberry cheese cake on this day. You can also visit cheese cake factory and feel the experience of cheese cake making. You can also taste the freshly baked blueberry cheese cake. Take your kids along also and they can learn how a cheese cake is made. You can pick up blueberry cheese cake from nearby bakery shops also and can invite your friends and family members to a blueberry cheese cake treat. If you are good in cooking you can even cook your variety of blueberry cheese cake to make it a perfect celebration.

Sally Ride Day

Sally Ride Day is celebrated on May 26th of each year in honor of America’s first woman astronaut. Sally Kristen Ride (May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012) was an American physicist and astronaut. Ride joined NASA in 1978 and at the age of 32, became the first American woman to enter into low Earth orbit in 1983. She left NASA in 1987 to work at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Arms Control and had served on the investigation panels for two space shuttle disasters (Challenger and Columbia)—the only person to serve on both. She founded a company, Sally Ride Science, in 2001. She co-authored five children’s science books with her life partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy, as well as another dozen or so space-related titles. Ride remains the youngest American astronaut to be launched into space.

Ride was one of 8,000 people to answer an advertisement in a newspaper seeking applicants for the space program. As a result, she joined NASA in 1978. During her career, Ride served as the ground-based capsule communicator (CapCom) for the second and third Space Shuttle flights (STS-2 and STS-3) and helped develop the Space Shuttle’s robot arm.

Prior to her first space flight, she was subject to media attention due to her gender. During a press conference, she was asked questions like “Will the flight affect your reproductive organs?” and “Do you weep when things go wrong on the job?” Despite this and the historical significance of the mission, Ride insisted that she saw herself in only one way—as an astronaut. On June 18, 1983, she became the first American woman in space as a crew member on Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7. She was preceded by two Soviet women, Valentina Tereshkova in 1963 and Svetlana Savitskaya in 1982. The five-person crew of the STS-7 mission deployed two communications satellites and conducted pharmaceutical experiments. Ride was the first woman to use the robot arm in space and the first to use the arm to retrieve a satellite.

Her second space flight was in 1984, also on board the Challenger. She spent a total of more than 343 hours in space. Ride, who had completed eight months of training for her third flight (STS-61-M, a TDRS deployment mission) when the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred, was named to the Rogers Commission (the presidential commission investigating the accident) and headed its subcommittee on operations. Following the investigation, Ride was assigned to NASA headquarters in Washington, DC, where she led NASA’s first strategic planning effort, authored a report entitled “NASA Leadership and America’s Future in Space”, and founded NASA’s Office of Exploration.

World Lindy Hop Day

World Lindy Hop Day welcomes people from all walks of life, all ages, and from around the world to experience this exuberant African American social dance. Originating in Harlem, New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, the Lindy Hop is done to the big band jazz of the era. While swing music is generally known, our goal is to spread the dance to a wider global arena.

The universal language of the Lindy Hop (aka swing dancing or jitterbug) features creative and exhilarating movements that allow partners to connect in a way that uplifts the spirit, promotes human connection, and develops generosity. It allows dancers to meet in a positive environment that supports the building of bridges on personal, community, and global levels.

The vision of World Lindy Hop Day dovetails with that of our sponsor, the Frankie Manning Foundation:
“The Lindy Hop will be danced all over the world, to live big band music when possible or to recorded music when live music is not accessible. Everywhere that Lindy Hop is danced, on the dance floors and off, people of diverse backgrounds will treat each other with respect and warmth. The history of the originators of the Lindy Hop at the Savoy Ballroom will be made known to dancers and non-dancers everywhere.”
Grounded in unity and collaboration, World Lindy Hop Day, celebrated every May 26th, encourages people from all different backgrounds to enjoy and share the many benefits of this joyous and enduring dance.

The 2014 celebration will be the formal inauguration of May 26th (Frankie Manning’s birthday) as World Lindy Hop Day!

The Lindy Hop is an energetic African-American partner dance that came to fruition in Harlem’s dance halls, most notably the Savoy Ballroom, in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The Lindy’s development was closely linked to and hugely influenced by the music of the time–big band jazz, also called swing music.

The elegant Savoy Ballroom was mecca for Lindy Hoppers because the best bands played there for the best dancers, devotees who pushed the boundaries of ballroom dancing to create a spectacularly exciting form. The Lindy became a worldwide phenomenon during the Swing Era (1935-45), popularized as the jitterbug or swing dancing, lighting up ballrooms, theaters, nightclubs, and films throughout the Great Depression and World War II.

The Lindy developed from several dances, including the breakaway, Charleston, and collegiate, and throughout its history has updated itself by absorbing and adapting popular jazz steps and dances of the era. With roots in solo dances of tribal Africa and partnered dances of Europe, the Lindy can be classified as a jazz dance and is a member of the swing dance family. This exuberant dance’s basic step is the eight-count swing-out. While Lindy Hoppers draw on an extensive shared vocabulary of figures, the dance also allows for and encourages improvisational movements as well as personal styling and expression.

When bebop jazz replaced swing music in the 1950s, followed by rock ‘n’ roll taking center stage in American cultural life, the Lindy went into a period of decline. Beginning in the 1980s, a groundswell of interest in vintage culture brought attention to swing music and dance. Enthusiasts in America, Sweden, and England rediscovered the Lindy and initiated a revival that’s been growing in popularity ever since. There are now over forty countries on five continents where swing dance societies, clubs, and studios offer dances, classes, performances, camps, and large-scale festivals. Today’s Lindy Hopper can travel the world communicating with people from a diverse range of national and ethnic backgrounds through the universal language of swing dancing.

One of the prime creators of the Lindy Hop, and the most influential person in swing dance history, Frankie Manning was born in Florida on May 26th, 1914. He moved to Harlem as a child, where he first saw dancing at neighborhood rent parties and ballrooms. By the early 1930s, Frankie was a regular at the legendary Savoy Ballroom. While part of the Savoy’s inner circle of elite dancers, Frankie introduced many innovations into the Lindy Hop, including the air step and synchronized ensemble routines. His ideas, done to this day, revolutionized the Lindy, catapulting it from ballroom to stage and screen. As chief choreographer and lead dancer for the sensational Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, Frankie created and danced in routines for numerous films, including his masterpiece, Hellzapoppin’ (1941), and performed internationally in theaters and nightclubs with Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Ethel Waters, Billie Holiday, and many other jazz greats of the Swing Era.

After active service in the United States Army during World War II, Frankie helmed his own troupe. The Congaroo Dancers were a hugely successful act, appearing with Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, and other stars. But as musical tastes changed, demand for Frankie’s brand of entertainment diminished, and he gave up show business for a day job. After working in the U.S Postal Service for thirty years, Frankie was rediscovered in the 1980s by a new generation of swing enthusiasts. Suddenly in great demand, he traveled constantly for the next twenty-five years to share the dance he never stopped loving—teaching, performing, choreographing, and lecturing for dancers clamoring to study with the master.

Frankie served as a consultant for and danced in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X and Debbie Allen’s Stompin’ at the Savoy. Among many honors, he received a Tony Award for his choreography in the Broadway hit, Black and Blue. Hundreds of articles and dozens of documentaries, including profiles by GQ, People, 20/20, and Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns chronicled his activities. His memoir, Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop, was published by Temple University Press in 2007.

Although Frankie passed away in 2009, he is still beloved, revered, and emulated by swing dancers around the world with an enthusiasm that cannot be quantified. Since the 1980s, his birthday has inspired special events across the globe in celebration of the man, the music, and the dance. On May 26th, Lindy Hoppers everywhere have gathered to swing out to big band jazz, communing via the joyous dance they feel so lucky to share. For these reasons, and in honor of Frankie Manning, we have declared that May 26th forever be known as World Lindy Hop Day.

National Sorry Day

The National Sorry Day is an Australia-wide event observed annually on 26 May since 1998. The day is selected in memory of the ‘Bringing Them Home’ report being handed to the federal government on 26 May 1997. It is not yet recognised as official holiday, although there have been calls by some Aboriginal leaders to make it one. The National Sorry Day is a commiserative Australian event held annually on May 26th.

The reason for the origin of the national sorry day can be traced back to the Aboriginal Protection Act, 1869. According to this children of the indigenous peoples of Australia and children of mixed descent were forcibly removed from their parents’ homes. The government took over guardianship powers over these children and they were placed in government housing and raised away from their families. The government justifies its action in the name of protection of the children and assimilating them into European society.The National Sorry Day was first held on May 26, 1998 a year after the tabling of a report about the forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. It is this report called Bring Them Home report that suggested the establishment of the National Sorry Day. The report questions the Australian government’s justification to the major wrong done to the native peoples of Australia.  In spite of all these, the Australian government has never formally apologized to the indigenous people for what it has done to them. In 2004 the day is renamed National Day of Healing, as it is the first step towards healing. But later it is decides to retain the name National Sorry Day.

The national sorry day is designed to express regret over the historical mistreatment of Aboriginal peoples. This is an occasion for people to come together and share the steps towards healing for the indigenous Australians who were forcibly removed from their families and communities.

The National Sorry Day celebrations include writing messages and sign “sorry books”, concerts and barbecues, reconciliation walks, flag hoisting, street marches, morning teas/ lunches, media statements from politicians within federal, state and local governments and speeches from community leaders and educators. All these events are organised to show commitment towards reconciliation. In schools students will light candles and there will be essay competitions and film screening as well

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Holidays and Observances for May 25 2014

Geek/Nerd Pride Day

Wear your taped together glasses proudly because it's Geek/Nerd Pride Day! It's also Towel Day, The Glorious 25th of May, and the anniversary of the premier of the first Star Wars movie. 

Ah, people. We sure like to create celebratory days for everything we do. Well, today is probably one of the best days of note currently celebrated -- it's Geek/Nerd Pride Day! That's right, because we need a day to be proud of ourselves for having superior knowledge of all things Star Wars. On TechRepublic's Facebook page, we asked members how they're celebrating Geek/Nerd Pride Day. Some of the comical answers include:
  • Mark Mutic is celebrating by responding to every single trouble ticket with "have you rebooted?"
  • Steven Richards spent two entire hours discussing iPhone vs. Blackberry vs. Winmo vs. Android.
  • Don V. Moore is holding his glasses together with colored tape.
  • Stephen Lange has his towel.
Wait -- okay carrying a towel is certainly geeky, though it's not necessarily a geeks-only thing. So why is Mr. Lange ensuring ease of his day by knowing where his towel is? Because Geek/Nerd Pride Day is also Towel Day! Beginning May 25, 2001, Douglas Adams fans started the Towel Day tradition as a way of commemorating the infamous author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Terry Pratchett fans also take note of May 25, as it is The Glorious 25th of May from Pratchett's novel, Discworld. May 25 is also the anniversary of the premier of the first Star Wars movie.

It's becoming clear to me that May 25 has managed to become the geekiest day of the year. I looked, and I can't find a geekier day. It's like the date, 5/25, has claimed geekdom for itself. Geek/Nerd Pride Day even has a manifesto:

  1. The right to be even geekier.
  2. The right to not leave your house.
  3. The right to not like football or any other sport.
  4. The right to associate with other nerds.
  5. The right to have few friends (or none at all).
  6. The right to have as many geeky friends as you want.
  7. The right to be out of style.
  8. The right to be overweight and near-sighted.
  9. The right to show off your geekiness.
  10. The right to make an attempt at being as geeky as Morgana Summers, and the right to fail. (Topher Stumph came quite close, but he too, failed).
  11. The right to develop serious crushes on Randall Munroe, Shane Carruth & Bo Burnam, as opposed to say... James Franco. (See 10).
  12. The right to carry a Thesaurus with you at all times, as opposed to an iPhone. (See 10)
  13. The right to execute shameless self advertisement via the Wikipedia Geek/Nerd Pride Day page. (See 10).
  14. The right to falsely assume the surnames Finkleton, Waldman, Stratzer and Krukemeyer.
  15. The right to quote Firefly, xkcd, or both, whenever at all possible.
  16. The right to take over the world.
  1. Be a geek, no matter what.
  2. Try to be nerdier than anyone else.
  3. If there is a discussion about something geeky, you must give your opinion.
  4. To save and protect all geeky material.
  5. Do everything you can to show off geeky stuff as a "museum of geekiness."
  6. Don't be a generalized geek. You must specialize in something.
  7. Attend every nerdy movie on opening night and buy every geeky book before anyone else.
  8. Wait in line on every opening night. If you can go in costume or at least with a related T-shirt, all the better.
  9. Don't waste your time on anything not related to geekdom.
  10. Befriend any person or persons bearing any physical similarities to comic book or sci-fi figures.
  11. Try to take over the world!
You have to admit, a day that has its own manifesto is pretty great. Sadly, Geek/Nerd Pride Day snuck up on me, and other than listening to NPR talk about what it means to be a nerd, the day has mostly gone uncelebrated for me. I'm considering knitting socks using a pattern based on binary or maybe a scarf. On second thought, I might try knitting a Dalek.

How are you celebrating Geek/Nerd Pride Day? Or do you celebrate your geekiness every day?

Indianapolis 500

The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race is an automobile race held annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana, an enclave suburb of Indianapolis, Indiana. The event is held over Memorial Day weekend, which is typically the last weekend in May. It is contested as part of the Verizon IndyCar Series, the top level of American Championship Car racing, an open-wheel formula colloquially known as "Indy Car Racing."

The event, billed as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, is considered one of the three most prestigious motorsports events in the world. The official attendance is not disclosed by Speedway management, but the permanent seating capacity is upwards of 250,000, and infield patrons raise the race-day attendance to approximately 300,000.

The inaugural running was won by Ray Harroun in 1911. The race celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011, and the 97th running was held in 2013. Tony Kanaan is the defending champion. The most-successful drivers are A. J. Foyt, Al Unser, and Rick Mears, each of whom have won the race four times. Rick Mears holds the record for most career pole positions with six. The most-successful car owner is Roger Penske, owner of Team Penske, which has 15 total wins and 17 poles.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway complex was built in 1909 as a gravel-and-tar track and hosted a smattering of small events, including ones for motorcycles. The first long distance event, in "fearful conditions", was the 100-lap Prest-O-Lite Trophy in 1909, won by Bob Burman in a Buick. Breakup of the asphalt led to two fatal accidents in the first two long-distance events (a 250 mi (400 km) and 300 mi (480 km), which was shortened to 235 mi (378 km) after two severe wrecks).

That these spectacles had attracted 15,000 paying customers (and crowds of up to 40,000) persuaded principal owner Carl G. Fisher to spend US$155,000 on repaving the track with 3.2 million bricks; he also added a 2 ft 9 in (0.84 m) concrete wall around the track's circumference. During the 1910 Memorial Day weekend, the first events on the newly paved circuit drew 60,000 spectators; Ray Harroun won the 200 mi (320 km) Wheeler-Schebler Trophy in a Marmon.
The crowds grew progressively smaller for the rest of the season, however, so the track owners chose to focus on a single race. They considered a 24-hour contest, in the fashion of Le Mans, or a 1,000 mi (1,600 km). They instead chose a 500 mi (800 km) contest, and offered a spectacular purse of $US25,000, equivalent to 37.615 kg of pure gold. The combination allowed the track to rapidly acquire a privileged status for automobile races.

The first "500" was held at the Speedway on Memorial Day, May 30, 1911, run to a 600 cu in (9,800 cc) maximum engine size formula. It saw a field of 40 starters, with Harroun piloting a Marmon Model 32-based Wasp racer — outfitted with his invention, the rear view mirror. Harroun (with relief from Cyrus Patschke) was declared the winner, although Ralph Mulford protested the official result. 80,000 spectators were in attendance, and an annual tradition had been established. Many considered Harroun to be a hazard during the race, as he was the only driver in the race driving without a riding mechanic, who checked the oil pressure and let the driver know when traffic was coming.

In 1912, the purse was raised to US$50,000. The field was limited to 33 (where it remains) and a riding mechanic was made mandatory.[20] This second event was won by Joe Dawson in a National, after Ralph de Palma's Mercedes broke. Although the first race was won by an American driver at the wheel of an American car, European makers such as the Italian Fiat or French Peugeot companies soon developed their own vehicles to try to win the event, which they did from 1912 to 1919. The 1913 event saw a change to a 450 cu in (7,400 cc) maximum engine size.

After World War I, the native drivers and manufacturers regained their dominance of the race. Engineer Harry Miller set himself up as the most competitive of the post-war builders. His technical developments allowed him to be indirectly connected to a history of success that would last into the mid-1970s.

For musical entertainment prior to the start of the race, the Purdue All-American Marching Band began performing on the track near the finish-line in 1927 and has been the host band of the race ever since. In 1946 American operatic tenor and car enthusiast James Melton started the tradition of singing "Back Home Again in Indiana" with the Purdue Band before the race when asked to do so on the spur of the moment by Speedway president Tony Hulman. This tradition has continued through the years, notably by actor and singer Jim Nabors since 1972.

National Brown-Bag-It Day

Today's food holiday is in the bag - May 25 is National Brown-Bag-It Day!

If you’re sick of the same old options at your workplace cafeteria, or tired of forking out precious cabbage for lunchtime nosh, consider jumping on the BYOL (bring your own lunch) bandwagon. Not only is brown-bagging it cost-effective, there are a ton of residual positive effects too.

For starters, you're in control. You can make your lunch as healthy as you’d like. Crunchy snacks keep the mind going when the afternoon blues hit. Trail mix or roasted nuts will keep your brain active. And, don’t forget a sweet treat!

If you’re pressed for time, make a batch of something on Sunday night that’s easily portable and you can eat for two or three days. Dishes like lasagna (or any other baked pasta dishes) get better as they sit. Soups and casseroles are other great options.

And, just because you’re bringing your own, doesn’t mean you can’t socialize during lunch hour. Link up with other brown-bagging friends and sit together. You can also set up lunch swaps, or try a potluck. Just because you’re brown-bagging it, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.

National Missing Children's Day

National Missing Children's Day is an annual observation in the United States designed to highlight the problem of child abduction. It falls on May 25 - on that date in 1979, six-year-old New Yorker Ethan Patz disappeared on his way to school. National Missing Children's Day was first observed in 1983.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children annually holds events on and around National Missing Children's Day to raise awareness of the threat of child abduction, inform families about ways to keep their children safe and support victims' families. The center's initiative “Take 25” encourages parents, guardians and educators to take 25 minutes to talk to children about safety.

National Missing Children's Day was first observed in 1983, following a proclamation by U.S. president Ronald Reagan. In the years 1979 to 1981, a series of child abductions shocked the American public. Ethan Patz was six years old when he disappeard on his way to school on May 25, 1979. Although he was never found, the boy was legally declared dead in 2001. His case received a large amount of media attention and ultimately lead to the formation of the missing children's movement. National Missing Children's Day falls on the anniversary of his disappearance.

Take 25 is a campaign created by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) that asks families, educators, law-enforcement officers and trusted adults to take 25 minutes to talk to children about safety. Created in honor of National Missing Children’s Day which is annually recognized on May 25th, Take 25 helps educate communities on safety risks and ways to better protect the children in their lives. During the months of April and May, communities are invited to join NCMEC in this grassroots effort by promoting ongoing safety conversations between children and their families.

Talking to children about ways to stay safe is vital; keeping the dialogue going is even more critical. According to the FBI there were approximately 500,000 reports of missing children under the age of 18 in 2013. The good news is that the majority of these children are recovered quickly. Even better news is that children and communities are fighting back. An analysis conducted by NCMEC of 8,000 confirmed attempted abductions showed that 51% of children walked or ran away and 32% took action to escape such as yelling, kicking, or pulling away. Even more inspiring, is that in 17% of these cases, a parent or another individual intervened to rescue the child.

National Tap Dance Day

National Tap Dance Day falls on May 25 every year and is a celebration of tap dancing as an American art form. The idea of National Tap Dance Day was first presented to U.S. Congress on February 7, 1989 and was signed into American law by President George H.W. Bush on November 8, 1989. The one-time official observance was on May 25, 1989. Tap Dance Day is also celebrated in other countries, particularly Japan, Australia, India and Iceland.

National Tap Dance Day was the brainchild of Carol Vaughn, Nicola Daval, and Linda Christensen. They deemed May 25 appropriate for this holiday because it is the birthday of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, a significant contributor to tap dance.

Tap dance day can be celebrated with an event which may be organized by a studio or tap dance interest group. Some may also celebrate it individually due to geographical dispersion or lack of access to the wider tap community. National Tap Dance Day is celebrated in many different ways. For example, a studio may send people out onto the streets to teach the "Shim Sham Shimmy" to passers-by. However, there are several cities (particularly in America) that have their own performances and events to coincide with Tap Dance Day.

National Wine Day

Have you heard the buzz? With the long Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, another delightful holiday is just hours away and Americans are ready to celebrate! According to a WUSA9 report published on May 23, one of the best days of the entire year is almost here. Go grab the corkscrew, folks! May 25, 2014, is National Wine Day!

Whether you prefer red, white, dry, sweet or sparkling, this delightful beverage holiday is dedicated to all types of wine. While the origins of this annual occasion are unknown, who needs an excuse to enjoy a wine?

Whether you consider yourself a wine connoisseur, novice or weekend warrior, nothing quite hits the spot like a delightful glass of wine, right? People have been drinking wine for centuries. In fact, the world's oldest known bottle of wine, discovered during a dig in 1867, actually dates back to 325 A.D. The bottle is on permanent display at the Historisches Museum der Pfalz in Germany.

And speaking of impressive. Winemaker and creative craftsman, John Holdredge, created the perfect chair for enjoying wine. Holdredge and a few friends made a ginormous Adirondack-style chair that is over 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide constructed out of Western Red Cedar. According to an online interview with Holdredge Wines, the chair is a delightful combination of art and fun.
“Full grown adults turn into squealing little kids when they get on it. We are very serious about the many Pinot Noirs we make, but we also try to have as much fun in life as possible- and this is just an extension of that aspect of who we are. Come for the wine, stay for the chair, or vice-versa.”
Perfect for get-togethers, 10 people can sit on it at once. Now if we could only find a gigantic wine bottle – we’d be good to go!

If you are out and about this weekend, check out some of the fun wine events across the nation.

National Wine Day Events:
  • The Homan Ranch Tasting Room in Carmel Valley, CA, will be servin’ up free wine tastings in honor of the occasion. Just stop by between 11 – 6:00 p.m. on May 25 for a free White Wine Flight tasting (one per person.)
  • Chris Kern’s Forgotten Grapes is also celebrating with a Wine Tasting weekend. For $12, you’ll get to taste 12 different wines from all over the world. The event runs from May 23 – May 26, 2014.
  • Passport to Pinot – If you are in the Sebastopol, CA, area, be sure to stop by this weekend event at the Dutton Goldfield Winery & Tasting Room. More than 30 area wineries will be participating. Barrel tastings, delicious food, tours, local entertainers and artist demonstrations will all be part of the occasion.
  • The Laurita Spring Festival in New Egypt, New Jersey, will take place on May 24 – 25. Enjoy live music, food and award-winning wines.
It’s time to pop open the cork because it's time to drink some wine! (In moderation, of course.) Happy National Wine Day!

Towel Day

Towel Day is celebrated every year on 25 May as a tribute to the author Douglas Adams by his fans. On this day, fans carry a towel with them, as described in Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, to demonstrate their appreciation for the books and the author. The commemoration was first held in 2001, two weeks after Adams' death on 11 May 2001.

The original quotation that explained the importance of towels is found in Chapter 3 of Adams' work The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough. 
More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost." What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with. 
Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in "Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is." (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)
—Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The emphasis on towels is a reference to Hitch-hiker's Guide to Europe by Ken Welsh, which inspired Adams' fictional guidebook and also stresses the importance of towels.

The original article that began Towel Day was posted at "Binary Freedom", a short-lived open source forum.
Towel Day: A Tribute to Douglas Adams
Monday 14 May 2001 06:00am PDT
Douglas Adams will be missed by his fans worldwide. So that all his fans everywhere can pay tribute to this genius, I propose that two weeks after his passing (25 May 2001) be marked as "Towel Day". All Douglas Adams fans are encouraged to carry a towel with them for the day. 
So long Douglas, and thanks for all the fish!
— D Clyde Williamson, 2001-05-14
Chris Campbell and his friends registered the website to promote the day, reminding people to bring their towels. Towel Day was an immediate success among fans and many people sent in pictures of themselves with their towels.