Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Holidays and Observances for May 20 2014

Be a Millionaire Day

If you've ever fantasized about being filthy rich, it may just be your “lucky” day! Although the origins of this annual “holiday” are unknown, May 20 is Be a Millionaire Day!

For millions of Americans who live paycheck to paycheck, the real possibility of losing a job, not being able to pay the mortgage or adequately provide for the family, are all too common concerns. Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you were wealthy? No more worries about being able to pay all those bills, or worries about health care costs. Just imagine being able to afford that new luxury car, having one or two beautiful homes in scenic locations or jet-setting around the world in your private jet or yacht? Imagine owning a fortune in art, owning a slew of sparkling gems and having that one-of-a-kind ginormous walk-in closet filled with fabulous designer shoes? Ahh, living the lifestyle of the rich and famous sounds pretty darn good, doesn't it?

But if you don’t happen to have an oil field in your back yard and striking gold isn’t in your immediate future, you could always play the lottery, right?

How to Celebrate Be a Millionaire Day:
  • Get some expert advice and invest wisely!
  • If you don’t have one, open a savings account.
  • Have a few extra bucks automatically withdrawn from your paycheck and automatically deposited into your retirement fund.
  • Pay off that credit card!
  • Give! You really do reap what you sow!
  • Live within your means.
  • Play Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
  • Buy a lottery ticket!
  • Head over to your nearest casino and hope Lady Luck's got your back!
Although money may not buy happiness, it sure can make life a lot more interesting and a lot less stressful!

Eliza Doolittle Day

The mean old speech teacher made Eliza Doolittle do her vocal exercises again and again and again. And over again, again.

All this while treating her rather badly!

As she daydreams about taking revenge on her teacher, Doolittle dreams of a day when she will be famous, “proper and prim.” She imagines meeting the King; he is so charmed by her that he proclaims:
"Oh, Liza, old thing,I want all of England your praises to sing.Next week on the twentieth of May,I proclaim Eliza Doolittle Day!”
This delightful revenge song is in the Broadway show and movie My Fair Lady. It's all about the transformation of a young cockney woman, who earns a grubby living by selling flowers, into a Lady with a capital “L.” The speech teacher is Professor Henry Higgins ('Enry 'Iggins, to Eliza Doolittle), and he does his transforming trick on the “flower girl” in order to win a bet with a colleague. The question that hangs over the movie is—Do these two fall for each other? And maybe even, do they live happily ever after?

Basically, today we celebrate a fictional character's daydream about something that would never, ever happen!

And celebrate we will!
  • It's a great day to watch the movie My Fair Lady.
  • Learn the whole song “Just You Wait.”
  • Do you think that the movie is sexist, according to our modern ideas? And what do you think about the way “upper class” and “lower class” people are depicted?
  • “Elocution” is the study of formal speaking. What is the “proper” or “correct” pronunciation of a word in a world with many different accents?
Would it surprise you to hear that the “right” way to say something is supposed to be the way that the upper class pronounces things? In England, the upper-class English accent is called “the Queen's English.” The accent used by most American news broadcasters is called “General American.”

Of course, in reality there is no one “correct” accent or way of pronouncing words. No matter what 'Enry 'Iggins said, people with regional accents that are different from what are considered “standard” accents are not necessarily less intelligent, less educated, or less “cultured.”

National Quiche Lorraine Day

National Quiche Lorraine Day celebrates this French dish that dates back to the 16th century.

A quiche is a savory dish made with eggs as a base and other ingredients added to it. It can be prepared with or without a crust. Basic quiche ingredients are eggs, milk, cream, cheese and spices. Other food items such as onions, mushrooms, ham, bacon or spinach can be added. A quiche Lorraine is made with a pastry crust, bacon and Swiss cheese as the add-ins.
Named for the Lorraine region of France -- and borrowing from "kuchen," the German word for cake that was eventually altered to "kische" -- the quiche Lorraine is a hallmark French dish that dates back to the 16th century and is still served in France as a light lunch available at boulangeries, or a first course or hors d'oeuvre at dinnertime.
Julia Child, in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, described the original quiche Lorraine as an open pie with a filling consisting of an an egg and cream custard with smoked bacon or lardons. Today, in France, the quiche Lorraine is filled with beaten eggs, créme fraîche and bacon pieces all baked in a flaky pastry shell, but it's still served without the addition of cheese (in the U.S. we often add Gruyere). The addition of onions technically makes it a "quiche Alsacienne."

National Strawberry Picking Day

When fresh fruit comes along, you must pick it. May 20 is National Strawberry Picking Day!

Nothing says springtime like fresh fruit, and there’s nothing quite as satisfying as picking your own. This time of year fruit farms across the country open their gates to let the general public help themselves to their latest crops.

Picking your own fruit isn’t only a fun outing with family or friends; it’s also an opportunity to meet and support local farmers. You get a better sense of how the food you enjoy is cultivated, and smaller farms often use more sustainable growing practices.

When you’re picking strawberries, make sure to choose plump, bright red berries as those are the ripest. Strawberries also ripen off the vine, so picking green-tinged ones isn’t advised. Also, don’t be fooled by the big berries; the smaller ones are usually the sweetest.

It’s inevitable that you’ll pick way more strawberries than you’ll actually need. Luckily, very few neighbors and friends can resist a pint of fresh picked strawberries. They also freeze well once you’ve hulled them. You can turn your fruit loot into jam, dessert, syrup for cocktails, a healthy alternative to candy, ice cream or sorbet and smoothies, to name a few. But don’t wash your berries before storing them in the fridge as this encourages spoiling.

A few non-fruit related tips for strawberry picking – don’t forget the sunscreen, have a way to transport your berries home softly and safely, and consider taking a picnic lunch.

Weights and Measures Day

Like most people out there, you’re probably confused about what your baby weighed at birth. Well, you should be, because there’s only one day a year that anybody bothers to convert from dram to gram and from gram to grain, and that’s Weights and Measures Day.

We celebrate this day by taking children’s measurements, weighing the cats and checking that the king size bed matches the country’s guidelines. We also hold a moment of silence for those measurements that have become obsolete, such as the chalder or chaldron, the clove, the scruple, and as soon as that time is up, we proceed by making snotty remarks about the Indian candy, the Chinese catty and tan, the Japanese chin, the jupiter, the kip, and the slug, all valid measurements, as hilarious as they may sound to us. We then conclude by vigorously proclaiming the superiority of the metric or the imperial system, whichever of the two applies.

World Metrology Day

On World Metrology Day, recognized every May 20th, more than 80 countries celebrate the impact of measurement on our daily lives. Each year, World Metrology Day is organized jointly by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) and the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML), with the participation of the national organizations responsible for metrology.

World Metrology Day celebrates the signing of the Metre Convention by representatives of seventeen nations, an event which took place on May 20, 1875. This international agreement is also known as the "Treaty of the Metre." The Convention set the framework for global collaboration in the science of measurement and its industrial, commercial and societal application, as well as coordinating the development of the metric system. At first, the treaty was just concerned with mass and length measurement, but was revised in 1921 to cover all physical measurements. In 1960 the system of units was redefined as the International System of Units (SI). The original aim of the Metre Convention remains as important today as it was in 1875. This treaty provides the basis for a coherent measurement system worldwide. ncsli.org

This year's World Metrology Day theme is "Measurements and the Global Energy Challenge." Due to the current global energy challenge, this year’s focus will be on the topic of energy. Several factors contribute to our current energy challenge. The growing energy demands of emerging nations, the need to reduce greenhouse gases, rising fuel costs and the need for secure energy supplies all lead to a requirement for a diversity of energy sources, including renewable sources. Metrologists worldwide are challenged to meet the needs of this new diversified energy environment, assuring accurate measurement throughout the field of energy.

Businesses, laboratories and other organizations involved in measurement science have celebrated World Metrology Day in a variety of creative ways. These have included formal presentations and informal parties, as well as educational talks in schools on the history of metrology, information on base measurement units and how measurements affect everyday life. Metrologist Worldwide News Magazine would like to publish your World Metrology Day Celebration!. SEND YOUR TEXT AND PHOTOS TO lstone(at)ncsli(dot)org
Upcoming NCSL International Conference "Measurement Science and the Environment." 

Join us for the NCSLI Workshop & Symposium in Orlando, Florida, from July 25-31, 2014. Conference highlights include keynote speaker Dr. Martin Milton, Director of the BIPM and 110 technical papers, including a new track, “Pressing Problems – Real Research,” presented by NIST and NRC-Canada, centered on pressing societal issues and the importance of measurements in addressing them. Also included are energy sessions, which will focus on measurements associated with smart energy, infrastructure and measurements associated with power systems. There will be 25 tutorials offered, 120+ exhibitors and poster presentations in the exhibit hall, NCSLI committee meetings, great food, great lodging and serious networking with colleagues old and new. ncsli.org for complete conference information.