Saturday, May 16, 2015

Holidays and Observances for May 16 2015

Armed Forces Day

Many Americans celebrate Armed Forces Day annually on the third Saturday of May. It is a day to pay tribute to men and women who serve the United States’ armed forces. Armed Forces Day is also part of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May.

Many events across the United States take place on Armed Forces Day to honor Americans in uniform who served their country in times of war and peace. Those who are honored on this day include people who serve the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. National Guard and Reserve units may celebrate Armed Forces Day/Week over any period in May because of their unique training schedules. Events and activities may include:
  • Multi-service military displays in areas open for the public.
  • Various educational activities that teach children about the armed forces.
  • “Support the Troops” themed motorcycle rides.
  • Large parades and other local celebrations.
Certain types of music are also played at Armed Forces Day events, including at memorials and at cemeteries, as a way to respect those in the armed forces who died for their country. For example, buglers have played a bugle call, known simply as Taps, on Armed Forces Day in recent years. Tapsis usually sounded by the United States military at events such as flag ceremonies, memorial services and funerals.

On August 31, 1949, Louis Johnson, who was the United States’ Secretary of Defense, announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days. The event stemmed from the armed forces’ unification under one department – the Department of Defense. The Army, Navy and Air Force leagues adopted the newly formed day. The Marine Corps League declined to drop support for Marine Corps Day but supports Armed Forces Day too.

The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated on Saturday, May 20, 1950. The theme for that day was “Teamed for Defense”, which expressed the unification of all military forces under one government department. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the day was designed to expand public understanding of what type of job was performed and the role of the military in civilian life.

Armed Forces Day was a day for the military to show "state-of-the-art" equipment to Americans. It was also a day to honor and acknowledge Americans in the armed forces. Parades, open houses, receptions and air shows were held at the inaugural Armed Forces Day. Armed Forces Day is still celebrated nationwide today and is part of Armed Forces Week.

Posters and other material used to promote Armed Forces Day often show images of Americans in the armed services dressed in their uniforms. Some posters show a collage of images, including images of those in the armed forces with their families or friends, as well as the United States Flag.

Biographer's Day

Today is Biographer’s Day, because on this day James Boswell first met Samuel Johnson. The resulting relationship eventually led to the world famous biography Life of Samuel Johnson. Of course, this book isn’t exactly flying off the shelves today. The friends met on May 16, 1763, and the book wasn’t published until 1791. Nevertheless, it is a classic, a ground-breaking book, and, according to many, the greatest biography ever written.

Samuel Johnson was really a fascinating man. He was a rather tall man with atrociously bad eyesight and was often seen to make extremely strange movements and sounds (seemingly involuntary). Recent biographers have suggested that he suffered from Tourette Syndrome. Some of his contemporaries assumed he was mentally handicapped when they first saw him, due to his odd looks and movements, but he was a marvelous speaker (and writer), and would shock these new acquaintances by his great knowledge and arguments.

And, of course, I can’t stop without letting you know that he wrote what is generally considered the first “real” English dictionary, not quite single-handedly, but close.

I suppose, if you know a biographer, today would be the day to send a card, flowers, candy, etc.

Culture Freedom Day

Culture Freedom Day is an observance of free culture. It takes place annually on the third Saturday of May. It aims at educating the worldwide public about the benefits of using and encouraging free culture as well as providing an international day to serve as a platform to promote free culture artists.

The term "free culture" was originally the title of a 2004 book by Lawrence Lessig, considered a founding father of the free culture movement. Free culture movement is dedicated to creating and making available their art, allowing others to freely use, study, distribute and improve on the work of others. Redistribution of those improvements are of course allowed and encouraged. The free culture movement opposes practices such as copyright extensions and attempts at suppressing the 'fair use rights' by the traditional media industry.

The first observance of the Culture Freedom Day dates to 2012. It takes place on the third Saturday of each May.

The Culture Freedom Day has been inspired by the Software Freedom Day, an observance of free and open source software that has increasingly included elements of celebrating free culture going beyond just software related issues.[4] It aims at educating the worldwide public about the benefits of using and encouraging free culture as well as providing an international day to serve as a platform to promote free culture artists.

The first 2012 celebrations took place a week ahead of schedule, on 11-12 May in Lisbon, Portugal. As of May 16, 2012, celebrations were planned in 16 countries worldwide.

Culture Freedom Day is organized by Digital Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit organization that also promotes software freedom. The event is supported by the Creative Commons organization.

International Virtual Assistants Day

The International Virtual Assistants Day is a day set aside to acknowledge the effort, determination and commitment of virtual assistants. The day is usually sponsored by the Alliance for Virtual Businesses and the celebrations held during the Online International Virtual Assistants Convention. The Alliance for Virtual Businesses, which is composed of a team of virtual professionals are the originators of this day, which is usually celebrated annually on every third Friday of the month of May. Its main purpose is usually to create awareness about virtual assistants’ services in the business community.

A virtual assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office. Because virtual assistants are independent contractors rather than employees, clients are not responsible for any employee-related taxes, insurance or benefits, except in the context that those indirect expenses are included in the VA's fees. Clients also avoid the logistical problem of providing extra office space, equipment or supplies. Clients pay for 100% productive work, and can work with Virtual Assistants, individually, or in multi-VA firms to meet their exact needs. Virtual Assistants usually work for other small businesses. but can also support busy executives. It is estimated that there are as few as 5,000-10,000 or as many as 25,000 virtual assistants worldwide. The profession is growing in centralized economies with "fly-in, fly-out" staffing practices.

Common modes of communication and data delivery include the Internet, e-mail and phone-call conferences, online work spaces, and fax machine. Increasingly Virtual Assistants are utilizing technology such as Skype as well as Google Voice. Professionals in this business work on a contractual basis and a long-lasting cooperation is standard. Typically 5 years of administrative experience in an office is expected at such positions as executive assistant, office manager/supervisor, secretary, legal assistant, paralegal, legal secretary, real estate assistant, information technology, et cetera.

In recent years Virtual Assistants have also worked their way into many mainstream businesses and with the advent of VOIP services such as Skype it has been possible to have a Virtual Assistant who can answer your phone remotely without the end user's knowledge. This allows many businesses to add a personal touch in the form of a receptionist without the additional cost of hiring someone.

Virtual Assistants consists of individuals as well as companies who work remotely as an independent professional, providing a wide range of products and services both to businesses as well as consumers. The virtual industry has changed substantially as it attracts others new to the field.

Virtual Assistants come from a variety of business backgrounds, but most have several years experience earned in the "real" (non-virtual) business world.

A dedicated virtual assistant is someone working in the office under the management of a company. The facility and internet connection as well as training are provided by the company. The home based virtual assistant worked either in the office sharing environment or in their house. The general VA are sometimes called an online administrative assistant, online personal assistant or online sales assistant. A virtual webmaster assistant, virtual marketing assistant and virtual content writing assistant are specific professionals that are usually experienced employees from corporate environment that started to set up their own virtual offices.

Love a Tree Day

Yes there really is a Love a Tree Day, and National Wildlife Federation can help you celebrate!

Love A Tree Day comes on May 16th, right in the middle of Garden for Wildlife Month, and wildlife gardeners everywhere know how important trees are to a good wildlife garden.  So here are five awesome ways you can show the love!

Release your inner “tree hugger” - Just get out there and wrap your arms around your favorite old arboreal pal.  You might want to pick a time when your neighbors are sure to see you so that, when they ask if you have finally cracked up, you can tell them all about Love A Tree Day and suggest they participate.  Even if they quickly look at their watch, announce they have to go and avoid eye contact for the next two weeks, you will have briefed them on Love A Tree Day.  You can just bet that next year they will have some dogwood in firm embrace.  And, to remind them of next year, you can send them an NWF plant-a-tree ornament that comes along with our planting a real tree on their behalf.

Give your tree a long, cool drink - In the garden setting, trees are the tall silent type.  They are not usually crying for attention the way those bratty flowers and shrubs do.  Think of them as nature’s middle child.  But, trees have needs too, and one of the main ones is for more water.  Watering a tree means soaking the root system.  It takes time and patience but the result is a regular root soaking will make a world of difference to a tree’s long-term health.  NWF has a tree care guide and so does Casey Trees for urban areas.

Provide some wildlife-friendly ornamentation -  Even if trees are fairly stoic they can be a tad vain.  Every tree enjoys a little nature-appropriate ornamentation.  And, there is no better compliment than a good bird feeder or bird house.   It just so happens that NWF has some of the best feeders and houses available.  Think of it as higher elevation jewelry shopping.

Give it a friend (or several) – NWF has a terrific program for the tree-planter in you called Trees for the 21st Century.  It involves ordering a group of trees in either the Spring of Fall that you can plant or, if you would prefer to pick one from your local nursery, it provides you with tree planting guidance and some fun tree-based lesson plans for you and the kids.

Add your tree to a wildlife sanctuary – This may seem far-fetched, but NWF has a very popular program designed to make you home garden into a Certified Wildlife Habitat.  You need water features such as a birdbath, a bird feeder, some flowers and shrubs and – one or more trees.  What tree wouldn’t be proud to be able to whisper in the wind that it was part of a refuge for wildlife, pollinators and lots of other leafy creatures.   And, when you certify — NWF will plant a tree on your behalf!  More love!

So Happy Love A Tree Day folks, even if your friends and neighbors do look at you funny for awhile.  You  can follow these steps and show some real love to your favorite tree during Garden for Wildlife Month.

National Learn to Swim Day

Held on the third Saturday of May each year the 4th annual National Learn to Swim Day, the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of teaching children to swim. With summer right around the corner, learning this invaluable life skill is even more essential for fun as well as for safety.

Founded by SwimWays in 2012, this learn to swim day is an endeavor to spread awareness among parents and children about the significance and benefits of learning to swim. It is devoted to educate them about the importance of water safety. This swim day is encouraging families around to teach their children swimming, by signing up for swimming lessons or hosting an event on this National Learn to Swim Day.

Drowning is still one of the leading causes of death in children and adolescents. This shows the importance of teaching children to swim. However, to have a more specific idea let’s go through some staggering facts:

According to the Orange County California Fire Authority, “A swimming pool is 14 times more likely than a motor vehicle to be involved in the death of a child age 4 and under. “

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Children under five and adolescents between the ages of 15-24 have the highest drowning rates.”

The above facts brings out the importance of learning to swim and Learn to Swim Day is an effort to make the people aware of how vital it is to learn swimming for safety purposes.

National Mimosa Day

If you're feeling a little parched and need a refreshing drink to whet your whistle, go grab your glass. May 16 is Mimosa Day! This annual holiday, created by freelance writer, cocktail enthusiast and "Queen of Holidays," Jace Shoemaker-Galloway, celebrates the delightful cocktail that not only tastes great, but is super-simple to make as well!

Is there anything better than the simplicity of a mimosa? The champagne or sparking wine cocktail mixed with orange juice is a refreshing accompaniment to a weekend brunch. But where did this drink originate and where did that catchy name come from anyway? Redstone American Grill has all your answers!

There are two stories about the origin of the mimosa. One states that the adult beverage was invented at the Ritz Hotel in Paris in 1925. It’s widely believed, though, that a French bartender stole the idea from a London tavern that calls their almost identical concoction “Buck’s Fizz” around the same time.

If you ever find yourself brunching in the United Kingdom, you’ll want to order a Buck’s Fizz. Here at American Redstone Grill, we’ll stick to calling them mimosas and serving them up with your favorite brunch in town.

As far as that name that just rolls off the tongue, the mimosa is named after the mimosa flower, a bright orange/yellow blossom native to southern Mexico and Central and South America. Now you know!

A toast: To mimosas!

National Piercing Day

National Piercing Day, which is celebrated each year on May 16, was created simply as a day to promote piercing.  Stores, shops, boutiques and salons across the country offer piercing specials and other promotions on National Piercing Day.

Body piercing, a form of body modification, is the practice of puncturing or cutting a part of the human body, creating an opening in which jewellery may be worn. The word piercing can refer to the act or practice of body piercing, or to an opening in the body created by this act or practice. Although the history of body piercing is obscured by popular misinformation and by a lack of scholarly reference, ample evidence exists to document that it has been practiced in various forms by both sexes since ancient times throughout the world.

Ear piercing and nose piercing have been particularly widespread and are well represented in historical records and amonggrave goods. The oldest mummified remains ever discovered were sporting earrings, attesting to the existence of the practice more than 5,000 years ago. Nose piercing is documented as far back as 1500 BC. Piercings of these types have been documented globally, while lip and tongue piercings were historically found in African and American tribal cultures. Nipple andgenital piercing have also been practiced by various cultures, with nipple piercing dating back at least to Ancient Rome while genital piercing is described in Ancient India c. 320 to 550 CE. The history of navel piercing is less clear. The practice of body piercing has waxed and waned in Western culture, but it has experienced an increase of popularity since World War II, with sites other than the ears gaining subcultural popularity in the 1970s and spreading to mainstream in the 1990s.

The reasons for piercing or not piercing are varied. Some people pierce for religious or spiritual reasons, while others pierce for self-expression, for aesthetic value, for sexual pleasure, to conform to their culture or to rebel against it. Some forms of piercing remain controversial, particularly when applied to youth. The display or placement of piercings have been restricted by schools, employers and religious groups. In spite of the controversy, some people have practiced extreme forms of body piercing, with Guinness bestowing World Records on individuals with hundreds and even thousands of permanent and temporary piercings.

Contemporary body piercing practices emphasize the use of safe body piercing materials, frequently utilizing specialized tools developed for the purpose. Body piercing is an invasive procedure with some risks, including allergic reaction, infection, excessive scarring and unanticipated physical injuries, but such precautions as sanitary piercing procedures and careful aftercare are emphasized to minimize the likelihood of encountering serious problems. The healing time required for a body piercing may vary widely according to placement, from as little as a month for some genital piercings to as much as two full years for the navel.

National Sea Monkey Day

National Sea Monkey Day is celebrated on May 16th of each year. Sea-Monkeys is a brand name for brine shrimp – a group of crustaceans that undergo cryptobiosis – often sold in hatching kits as novelty aquarium pets. Invented in 1957 by Harold von Braunhut, the product was heavily marketed, especially in comic books, and remains a presence in popular culture.

Harold von Braunhut invented the product based on brine shrimp in 1957. Ant farms had been popularised the year before by Milton Levine. Initially called “Instant Life”, von Braunhut changed the name to “Sea-Monkeys” in 1962. This was based on the supposed resemblance of the animals’ tails to those of monkeys, and their salt-water habitat. The product was intensively marketed in comic books using illustrations of humanoid animals drawn by the comic-book illustrator Joe Orlando, which bear no resemblance to the crustaceans. Von Braunhut is quoted as stating: “I think I bought something like 3.2 million pages of comic book advertising a year. It worked beautifully.” Many purchasers were disappointed by the dissimilarity, and by the short lifespan of the animals.

Sea-Monkeys remain a popular product, and have gained a cult following. References to Sea-Monkeys have been made in films and television series, including Spin City, Roseanne, Night Court, South Park, The Simpsons, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and Desperate Housewives. A spin-off television series was broadcast on Saturday mornings on CBS, The Amazing Live Sea Monkeys, which ran from September 1992 to August 1993, and was based on Joe Orlando’s cartoons.

The astronaut John Glenn took Sea-Monkeys into space on October 29, 1998 aboard Space Shuttle Discovery during mission STS-95. After nine days in space, they were returned to Earth, and hatched eight weeks later apparently unaffected by their travels.

National Wear Purple For Peace Day

Believe it or not, this holiday was originated as a way to encourage alien species to make contact with Earth.  What better way is there to show our intergalactic neighbors some of the best we have to offer than through our fashion?  First impressions are everything, you know!

To celebrate this peaceful day, you have to dress the part.  Whether you participate with your nails, makeup, outfit, or accessories, what extraterrestrial wouldn’t be intrigued by the abundance of purple?

Whatever shade you choose: plum, lavender, lilac, or violet, dress to impress!  But please, do not wear all them at once.  We don’t want creatures from outer space thinking we’re tacky, now do we?

World Whisky Day

World Whisky Day was founded in 2012 and falls on the third Saturday of May each year.

World Whisky Day is all about sharing good company, good times, and good whisky. Not a whisky person? This is a great excuse to give it a try! With events happening all over the world, from large gatherings to groups of friends sampling new varieties, why not try something a bit different?

Whisky or whiskey is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Various grains (which may be malted) are used for different varieties, including barley, corn (maize), rye, and wheat. Whisky is typically aged in wooden casks, generally made of charred white oak.

Whisky is a strictly regulated spirit worldwide with many classes and types. The typical unifying characteristics of the different classes and types are the fermentation of grains, distillation, and aging in wooden barrels.

It is possible that distillation was practiced by the Babylonians in Mesopotamia in the 2nd millennium BC, with perfumes and aromatics being distilled, but this is subject to uncertain and disputed interpretation of evidence. The earliest certain chemical distillations were by Greeks in Alexandria in the 1st century AD, but these were not distillations of alcohol. The medieval Arabs adopted the distillation technique of the Alexandrian Greeks, and written records in Arabic begin in the 9th century, but again these were not distillations of alcohol. Distilling technology passed from the medieval Arabs to the medieval Latins, with the earliest records in Latin in the early 12th century. The earliest records of the distillation of alcohol are in Italy in the 13th century, where alcohol was distilled from wine. An early description of the technique was given by Ramon Llull (1232 – 1315). Its use spread through medieval monasteries, largely for medicinal purposes, such as the treatment of colic and smallpox.

The art of distillation spread to Ireland and Scotland no later than the 15th century, as did the common European practice of distilling 'Aqua Vitae' or spirit alcohol primarily for medicinal purposes. The practice of medicinal distillation eventually passed from a monastic setting to the secular via professional medical practitioners of the time, The Guild of Surgeon Barbers. The first confirmed written record of whisky in Ireland comes from 1405, in the Irish Annals of Clonmacnoise, which attributes the death of a chieftain to "taking a surfeit of aqua vitae" at Christmas. In Scotland, the first evidence of whisky production comes from an entry in the Exchequer Rolls for 1494 where malt is sent "To Friar John Cor, by order of the king, to make aqua vitae", enough to make about 500 bottles.

James IV of Scotland (r. 1488–1513) reportedly had a great liking for Scotch whisky, and in 1506 the town of Dundee purchased a large amount of whisky from the Guild of Surgeon Barbers, which held the monopoly on production at the time. Between 1536 and 1541, King Henry VIII of England dissolved the monasteries, sending their monks out into the general public. Whisky production moved out of a monastic setting and into personal homes and farms as newly independent monks needed to find a way to earn money for themselves.

The distillation process was still in its infancy; whisky itself was not allowed to age, and as a result tasted very raw and brutal compared to today's versions. Renaissance-era whisky was also very potent and not diluted. Over time whisky evolved into a much smoother drink.

With a licence to distill Irish whiskey from 1608, the Old Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland is the oldest licences whiskey distillery in the world.

In 1707, the Acts of Union merged England and Scotland, and thereafter taxes on it rose dramatically.

After the English Malt Tax of 1725, most of Scotland's distillation was either shut down or forced underground. Scotch whisky was hidden under altars, in coffins, and in any available space to avoid the governmental Excisemen. Scottish distillers, operating out of homemade stills, took to distilling whisky at night when the darkness hid the smoke from the stills. For this reason, the drink became known as moonshine. At one point, it was estimated that over half of Scotland's whisky output was illegal.

In America, whisky was used as currency during the American Revolution; George Washington operated a large distillery at Mount Vernon. Given the distances and primitive transportation network of colonial America, farmers often found it easier and more profitable to convert corn to whisky and transport it to market in that form. It also was a highly coveted sundry and when an additional excise tax was levied against it, the Whiskey Rebellion erupted in 1791.

The drinking of Scotch whisky was introduced to India in the nineteenth century. The first distillery in India was built by Edward Dyer atKasauli in the late 1820s. The operation was soon shifted to nearby Solan (close to the British summer capital Shimla), as there was an abundant supply of fresh spring water there.

In 1823, the UK passed the Excise Act, legalizing the distillation (for a fee), and this put a practical end to the large-scale production of Scottish moonshine.

In 1831, Aeneas Coffey patented the Coffey still, allowing for cheaper and more efficient distillation of whisky. In 1850, Andrew Usher began producing a blended whisky that mixed traditional pot still whisky with that from the new Coffey still. The new distillation method was scoffed at by some Irish distillers, who clung to their traditional pot stills. Many Irish contended that the new product was, in fact, not whisky at all.

By the 1880s, the French brandy industry was devastated by the phylloxera pest that ruined much of the grape crop; as a result, whisky became the primary liquor in many markets.

During the Prohibition era in the United States lasting from 1920 to 1933, all alcohol sales were banned in the country. The federal government made an exemption for whisky prescribed by a doctor and sold through licensed pharmacies. During this time, the Walgreens pharmacy chain grew from 20 retail stores to almost 400.