Monday, July 14, 2014

Holidays and Observances for July 14 2014

National Tape Measure Day


July 14, 1868 Alvin J. Fellows of New Haven, Connecticut, receives a patent for a spring-click tape measure. His improved design creates a useful and enduring tool.

The invention originated in Sheffield, England, historic center of England’s steel industry. An official city marker on an old factory there recounts that James Chesterman patented the spring tape measure in 1829. According to the plaque, he also “invented the self-winding window blind and the first woven metallic tape.”

Chesterman was in the business of making “flat wire” for the fashion industry. Dressmakers used loops of it to hold the shape of the crinoline hoop skirts then in fashion. A really fluffed-out, layered hoop skirt could use 180 feet of the wire.

The inventive steelmaker had developed a heat-treating process that made the flat wire stronger and thus easier to produce in continuous unbroken lengths. But changing fashions would see the crinoline market fall flat, leaving the manufacturer up to his bustle with surplus metal tape.

Chesterman decided to put graduated marks on very long steel tapes, so he could market them to surveyors as a lightweight “Steel Band Measuring Chain.” In contrast to heavy, bulky surveyors’ chains, he touted that his product “has equal strength, greater correctness, is easier to clean, and to coil and uncoil, and is very much lighter and more compact.”

Lightweight or not, Chesterman’s tapes had a hefty price. They sold in the United States for $17 — about $300 in today’s money.

Fellows’ contribution was seemingly limited. His patent application acknowledged that he “fit the spiral or helical springs, to wind up the tape, in the usual way.” But he proposed a novel method to attach the spring clip that locks the tape in “any desired position,” so it doesn’t retract until you release the clip.

The application made further concessions to the existing technology:
I am aware that metallic cases have been used with the same kind of main-spring, and with a click-spring attached to the removable side or cap of the case, by being soldered to its inner surfaces, and a knob attached to the outer surface of the said removable side, to release the click, and allow the tape to be drawn in by the mainspring; I therefore do not claim any such device.
What he did claim was that his improvements — a unique combination of a case, cover plate, click spring, lever and knob — constituted a new invention “when the whole is constructed, arranged, and fitted for use.” They were incremental changes to a device for measuring increments.

And that’s how a fellow named Fellows got the first U.S. patent for a spring tape measure.

Even so, the click-spring, steel tape measure did not attain immediate widespread use. The carpenter’s folding wooden ruler remained the most popular collapsible measuring device in the United States until at least the 1940s.

International Town Criers Day


Before Gutenberg came around, basically changing the course of human literacy with his Printing Press, most people were ignorant. Not by choice, rather due to situation and circumstance. It’s hard to learn new ideas without access to books or the ability to read, and literacy rates back in the day were low. Really low, so when members of the ruling class (aka “the man” aka Royalty, nobility, fuedal lords, etc.) needed to inform the common folk of news rather than send out a flyer they sent out the town crier! 

Much like Catholic Dogma belief that the Pope is God’s physical spokesperson, Town Criers spoke on behalf of Rulers. The protection was extreme, too (i.e. don’t shoot the messenger). Killing a Town Crier was deemed treason, and subsequently punishable by death. Unfortunately, time is a little too abstract to behead for treason, and time ultimately led to the decline in Town Criers. However, Town Criers are a hearty bunch, and despite some setbacks (an 82% global literacy rate, and 97%+ in most developed nations) they have not gone down quietly. Town Criers can still be seen (distinguished by their fetching tricorner hats and other generally anachronistic fashions) and heard (OYEZ, is the usual greeting. There’s also the bell). Perhaps the best time to find a Town Crier would be on their own special day, their own holiday, Town Crier Day. 

Being loud is a key, so to celebrate this outrageous holiday make sure you’re loud. Spend your day making announcements. Dinner time? “OYEZ OYEZ OYEZ. By official decree of [name here] it’s Dinner time.” Make sure to keep a megaphone on hand, this whacky holiday might leave you a little hoarse. 

National Grand Marnier Day


Today celebrates all things French. Not only is July 14 Bastille Day, it is also National Grand Marnier Day! This annual food holiday celebrates France's "first and most exported liqueur" - Grand Marnier!

Invented in France in the 1880s, Grand Marnier is a sweet liqueur made from cognac and handpicked bitter oranges selected from plantations from the tropical regions of the world. The green Citrus Bigaradia peels are left to dry naturally for several weeks under the warm Caribbean sun ensuring the retention of an intense orange aroma and flavor. The delightful combination of the essence of orange, fine aged cognac and sugar syrup creates the tasty triple sec liqueur the world has grown to love. Besides being a delicious cocktail, Grand Marnier is often used in cooking.

In honor of National Grand Marnier Day, why not whip up one or two of the fabulous recipes listed below! Vive la France!

Grand Marnier Dishes & Desserts
Grand Marnier Cocktails & Drinks
  • Grand Iced Cafe Latte - This refreshing beverage calls for Grand Marnier liqueur, cold milk and espresso. Voila!
  • Orgasm - This creamy cocktail calls for Bailey's Irish Cream, Grand Marnier, Cointreau Orange Liqueur and a maraschino cherry.
  • Grand Cran - If you are a cranberry lover, you'll love this simple drink. Besides Grand Marnier, all you need is cranberry juice and fresh lime.
  • Grand Raspberry Fizz - This sparkling cocktail calls for Grand Marnier, raspberry puree or sorbet, lime juice, sugar syrup, raspberry syrup and soda water.
  • Citrus Martini - You'll need Lemon Vodka, Grand Marnier and lime juice for this refreshing cocktail.
  • Long Island Iced Tea - This super-refreshing drink tastes just like tea but packs quite a powerful punch!
  • Grand Cosmopolitan - Carrie Bradshaw would definitely dig this drink!
  • Grand Margarita - This cool cocktail calls for Grand Marnier, Tequila, lime juice and a lime for garnish.
  • 727 #2 - You'll need vodka, Bailey's Irish Cream, Kahlua and Grand Marnier for this one!
  • Grand Marnier Milkshakes - This simple-to-make ice-cold drink calls for vanilla ice cream and Grand Marnier.
  • All Warm and Fuzzy - This warm cocktail calls for Bailey's Irish Cream, Kahlua, Butterscotch Ripple Schnapps, Grand Marnier, hot chocolate or coffee and whipped cream.
Bon appetit! And as always, please drink responsibly.

National Nude Day


National Nude Day is observed on July 14. It's time to get naked, America: National Nude Day is a chance to keep cool on hot summer days. Nudity or nakedness is the state of wearing no clothing. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic. The amount of clothing worn depends on functional considerations and social considerations. 

A society's attitude to public nudity varies depending on the culture, time, location and context of an activity. There are many exceptions and particular circumstances in which nudity is tolerated, accepted or even encouraged in public spaces. Such examples would include a nude beach, within some intentional communities (such as naturist resorts or clubs) and at special events.

While some European countries such as Germany are rather tolerant about public nudity, in many countries public nudity may meet social disapproval or even constitute a misdemeanor of indecent exposure. In many countries public nudity is forbidden outright on the basis that nudity is inherently sexual. Many states of the United States fine offenders on that basis. 

In many contexts, public nudity has been more accepted, especially at designated areas such as nude beaches and, even in the United States, e.g. during World Naked Bike Ride events or Bay to Breakers. In some states, such as Oregon, public nudity is legal and protected as free speech, as long as there is not the "intent to arouse".

Pandemonium Day


Pandemonium Day is a day of sheer bedlam, and utter chaos. If ever there was a wild and whacky, unorganized day, today is that day. 

Everyone has a day like this once in while. It's a day when all sort of unexpected things occur. It's a time when everything is happening at the same time, and at a very fast pace. 

Celebrate and embrace Pandemonium Day. Don't let today, or any other day shake you up. If Pandemonium prevails, just go with the flow in a calm, cool manner. Sanity will return soon enough.....we hope. 

The Origin of Pandemonium Day: 
Our research did not find the creator, or the origin of this day. 

Shark Awareness Day


Contrary to expectations, the purpose of Shark Awareness Day is not to stand on the beach and shout out warnings to terrified swimmers and surfers, despite the hours of innocent fun that can provide.

It’s true that sharks are impressive hunters and predators, yet the sad fact remains that these magnificent creatures are more threatened by people than we are by sharks. The worldwide demand for shark-fin soup, shark-tooth medallions, and a false sense of security on beaches everywhere, all combine to leave sharks persecuted and endangered, with millions of them being killed each year.

Like top predators in any ecosystem, sharks play an essential role in keeping the seas healthy and productive. Whilst no-one is suggesting we go out and hug a Great White on Shark Awareness Day, it’s the least we can do to respect these wonderful creatures and let them be.